Skip to main content

Full text of "Mysterious psychic forces : an account of the author's investigations in psychical research ..."

See other formats








Director of Observatory ofjovisy, 
France. Author of * ' The Un- 
known," "The Atmosphere," etc. 



Copyright, 1907, 

All rigkti rturvtd. 


He who pronounces anything to be ef impossible" outside 
of the field of pure mathematics, is wanting in prudence. 


A learned pedant who laughs at the possible comes very 
near being an idiot. To purposely shun fact, and turn 
one's back upon it with a supercilious smile, is to bankrupt 


Science is under bonds, by the eternal principles of honor, 
to look fearlessly in the face every problem that is presented 
to her. 



The subject treated in the following pages has made great 
progress in the course of forty years. Now what we are con- 
cerned with in psychical studies is always unknown forces, 
and these forces must belong to the natural order, for nature 
embraces the entire universe, and everything is therefore un- 
der the sway of her sceptre. 

I do not conceal from myself, however, that the present 
work will excite discussion and bring forth legimate ob- 
jections, and will only satisfy independent and unbiased in- 
vestigators. But nothing is rarer upon our planet than an 
independent and absolutely untrammelled mind, nor is any- 
thing rarer than a true scientific spirit of inquiry, freed from 
all personal interest Most readers will say : " What is 
there in these studies, anyway? The lifting of tables, the 
moving of various pieces of furniture, the displacement of 
easy-chairs, the rising and falling of pianos, the blowing 
about of curtains, mysterious rappings, responses to mental 
questions, dictations of sentences in reverse order, apparitions 
of hands, of heads, or of spectral figures, these are only 
common place trivialities or cheap hoaxes, unworthy to oc- 
cupy the attention of a scientist or scholar. And what would 
it all prove even if it were true ? That kind of thing does 
not interest us." 

Well, there are people upon whose heads the sky might 
tumble without causing them any unusual emotion. 

But I reply: What! is it nothing to know, to prove, to 
see with one's own eyes, that there are unknown forces around 
us ? Is it nothing to study our own proper nature and our 



own faculties? Are not the mysterious problems of our 
being such as are worthy to be inscribed on the program of 
our investigation, and of having devoted to them laborious 
nights and days ? Of course, the independent seeker gets no 
thanks from anybody for his toil. But what of that ? We 
work for the pleasure of working, of fathoming the secrets 
of nature, and of instructing ourselves. When, in studying 
the double stars at the Paris Observatory and cataloguing 
these celestial twins, I established for the first time a natural 
classification of those distant orbs ; when I discovered stellar 
systems, composed of several stars, swept onward through 
immensity by one common impulse; when I studied the 
planet Mars and compared all the observations made during 
two hundred years in order to obtain at once an analysis 
and a synthesis of this next-door neighbor of ours among 
the planets ; when, in examining the effect of solar radiations 
I created the new branch of physics to which has been given 
the name " radioculture " and caused variations of the most 
radical and sweeping nature in the dimensions, the forms, 
and the colors of certain plants; when I discovered that a 
grasshopper, eviscerated and kept in straw did not die, and 
that these insects can live for a fortnight after having had 
their heads cut off ; when I planted in a conservatory of the 
Museum of Natural History, in Paris, one of the ordinary 
oaks of our woods (quercus robur), thinking that, if with- 
drawn from the changes of seasons, it would always have 
green leaves (a thing which everybody can prove), when 
I was doing these things I was working for my own p'-r- 
sonal pleasure ; but that is no reason why these studies have 
not been useful in the developing work of science, and no 
reason for their not being admitted within the scope of the 
practical work of specialists. 

It is the same with these psychical studies of ours; only 
there is a little more passion and prejudice connected with 


them. On the one hand, the sceptics cleave fast to their 
denials, convinced that they know all the forces of nature, 
that all mediums are humbugs, and all experimenters im- 
beciles. On the other hand, there are the credulous Spirit- 
ualists, who imagine they always have spirits at their beck 
and call in a centre-table, who evoke, with the utmost sang- 
froid, the spirits of Plato, Zoroaster, Jesus Christ, St. Augus- 
tine, Charlemagne, Shakespeare, Newton, or Napoleon, and 
who set about stoning me for the tenth or twentieth time, 
affirming that I am sold to the Institute on account of a deep- 
seated and obstinate ambition, and that I dare not declare 
myself in favor of the identity of the spirits for fear of an- 
noying my illustrious friends. The individuals of this class 
refuse to be satisfied just as much as the first class. 

So much the worse for them ! I insist on only saying what 
I know ; but I do say this. 

And if what I know is displeasing, so much the worse for 
the prejudices, the general ignorance, and the good breeding 
of these distinguished gentry, in whose eyes the maximum 
of happiness consists in an increase of their fortune, the 
pursuit of lucrative places, sensual pleasures, automobile- 
racing, a box at the Opera, or five-o'clock teas at a fashion- 
able restaurant, and whose lives are frittered away along 
paths that never cross those of the rapt idealist, and who 
never know the pure satisfaction of his mind and heart, or 
the pleasures of thought and feeling. 

As for me, a humble student of the prodigious problem 
of the universe, I am only a seeker. What are we? We 
have scarcely shed a ray more of light on this point than at 
the time when Socrates laid down, as a principle, the maxim, 
Know thyself, notwithstanding we have measured the dis- 
tances of the stars, analyzed the sun, and weighed the worlds 
of space. Does it stand to reason that the knowledge of our- 
selves should interest us less than that of the macrocosm, the 


external world ? It is not credible. Let us therefore study 
on, convinced that all sincere research will further the prog- 
ress of humanity. 

Juvisy Observatory, December, 1906. 






I. On Certain Unknown Natural Forces 1 

II. My First Seances In The Allen Kardec Group, And 

With The Mediums Of That Epoch 24 

III. My Experiments With Eusapia Paladino 63 

IV. Other Seances With Eusapia Paladino 135 

V. Frauds, Tricks, Deceptions, Impostures, Feats Of 

Legerdemain, Mystifications, Impediments . . 194 

VI. The Experiments Of Count De Gasparin .... 229 

VII. The Researches Of Professor Thury 266 

VIII. The Experiments Of The Dialectical Society Of 

London 289 

IX. The Experiments Of Sir William Crookes .... 306 

X. Sundry Experiments And Observations 352 

XI. My General Inquiry Respecting Observations Of 

Unexplained Phenomena 376 

XII. Explanatory Hypotheses Theories And Doctrines 

Conclusions Of The Author 406 

INDEX , 455 


Plate I. Complete Levitation of a Table in Professor 
Flammarion's Salon through Mediumship of Eusapia 
Paladino Facing page 8 

Plate II. House of Zoroastre of Jupiter from Somnambu- 
listic Drawing by Victorien Sardou . . . After page 26 

Plate III. Animals' Quarters. House of Zoroastre of 
Jupiter from Somnambulistic Drawing by Victorien 
Sardou After page 26 

Figure 1. The Inclination of the System of Uranus .Page 54 

Figure la. Orbits of Satellites of Uranus as Seen from the 
Earth Page 56 

Plate IV. Plaster Cast of Imprint Made in Putty without 
Contact by the Medium Eusapia Paladino . After page 76 

Plate V. Eusapia Paladino, Showing Resemblance to the 
Imprint in Putty After page 76 

Plate VI. Photographs Taken by M. G. de Fontenay of an 
Experiment in Table Levitation .... Facing page 82 

Plate VII. Plaster Casts of Impressions in Clay Produced 
by an Unknown Force Facing page 138 

Plate VIII. Drawing from Photograph, Showing Method 
of Control by Professors Lombroso and Richet of Eusapia. 
Table Completely Raised Facing page 154 

Plate IX. Photographs of Levitation of Table Accompany- 
ing Colonel De Rochas' Report .... Facing page 174 

Plate X. Scales Used in Professor Flammarion's Experi- 
ments Facing page 200 


Plate XI. Method Used by Eusapia to Surreptitiously Free 
her Hand Facing page 206 

Plate XII. Cage of Copper Wire, Electrically Charged, 
Used by Professor Crookes in the Home Accordion 
Experiment Facing page 808 

Figure 3. Board and Scale Experiment of Sir William 
Crookes Page 312 

Figures 4 and 5. Instruments Used in Scale Experiment 
by Sir William Crookes Page 5 

Figure 6. Glass Vessel Used by Home .... Page 818 

Figure 7. Automatically Registered Chart of Unknown 
Force Generated by Mr. Home Page 817 

Figures 8, 9, 10. Charts from Sir William Crookes Instru- 
ments Used in Experiments with Mr. Home . . Page 321 

Figures 11 and 12. Third Instrument Devised by Sir 
William Crookes for Recording Automatically the Un- 
known Force Generated by Home Page 322 

Figures 13. Charts Made by Third Instrument . Page 323 
Figures 14 and 15. Charts Made by Third Instrument Page 824 

Plate XIII. Instantaneous Photograph Taken by M. de 
Fontenay of Table Levitation Produced by the Medium 
Auguste Politi Facing page 368 


As long ago as 1865 I published, under the title, Unknown 
Natural Forces, a little monograph of a hundred and fifty 
pages which is still occasionally found in the book-shops, but 
has not been reprinted. I reprint here (pp. xiii-xxiii), what I 
wrote at that time in this critical study " apropos of the 
phenomena produced by the Davenport brothers and medi- 
ums in general." It was published by Didier & Co., book- 
sellers to the Academy, who had already issued my first two 
works, The Plurality of Inhabited Worlds and Imaginary 
Worlds and Real Worlds. 

11 France has just been engaged in an exciting debate, 
where the sound of voices was drowned in a great uproar, 
and out of which no conclusion has emerged. A disputation 
more noisy than intelligent has been raging around a whole 
group of unexplained facts, and so completely muddled the 
problem that, in place of illuminating it, the debate has only 
served to shroud it in deeper darkness: 

" During the discussion a singular remark was fre- 
quently heard, to the effect that those who shouted the loud- 
est in this court of assize were the very ones who were least 
informed on the subject. It was an amusing spectacle to see 
these persons in a death-grapple with mere phantoms. 
Panurge himself would have laughed at it. 

" The result of the matter is that less is known to-day up- 
on the subject in dispute than at the opening of the debates. 

" In the mean time, seated upon neighboring heights were 
certain excellent old fellows who observed the writs of arrest 



issued against the more violent combatants, but who remained 
for the most part grave and silent, though they occasionally 
smiled, and withal did a deal of hard thinking. 

" I am going to state what weight should be given to the 
opinions of those* of us who do not rashly affirm the impossi- 
bility of the facts now put under the ban and who do not add 
their voices to the dominant note of opposition/ 

" I do not conceal from myself the consequences of such 
sincerity. It requires a good deal of boldness to insist on 
affirming, in the name of positive science, the POSSIBILITY of 
these phenomena (wrongly styled supernatural), and to con- 
stitute one's self the champion of a cause apparently ridicu- 
lous, absurd, and dangerous, knowing, at the same time, that 
the avowed adherents of said cause have little standing in 
science, and that even its eminent partisans only venture to 
speak of their approval of it with bated breath. However, 
since the matter has just been treated momentarily in 
fugitive writings by a group of journalists whose exacting 
labors wholly forbid a study of the psychic and physical 
forces ; and since, of all this multitude of writers, the greater 
part have only heaped error upon error, puerility upon ex- 
travagance; and since it appears from every page they have 
written (I hope they will pardon me) that not only are 
they ignorant of the very a, b f c of the subject they have 
so fantastically treated, but their opinions upon this class 
of facts rest upon no basis whatever, therefore I have 
thought it would serve a purpose if I should leave, as a sou- 
venir of the long wrangle, a piece of writing better based 
and buttressed than the lucubrations of the above-mentioned 
gentlemen. As a lover of truth, I am willing to face a thou- 
sand reproaches. Be it distinctly understood that I do not 
for a moment deem my judgment superior to that of my 
confreres, some of whom are in other respects highly gifted. 
The simple fact is that they are not familiar with this snb- 


ject, but are straying in it at random, wandering through 
a strange region. They misunderstand the very terminol- 
ogy, and imagine that facts long ago well authenticated are 
impossible. By way of contrast, the writer of these lines 
will state that for several years he has been engaged in dis- 
cussions and experiments upon the subject. (I am not 
speaking of historical studies. ) 

"Moreover, although the old saw would have us believe 
that 'it is not always desirable to state the truth,' yet, to 
speak frankly, I am so indignant at the overweening pre- 
sumption of certain polemical opponents, and at the gall 
they have injected into the debate, that I do not hesitate to 
rise and point out to the deceived public that, without a 
single exception, all the arguments brought up by these 
writers, and upon which they have boldly planted their ban- 
ner of victory, prove absolutely nothing, NOTHING, against 
the possible truth of the things which they, in the fury of 
their denial, have so perverted. Such a snarl of opinions 
must be analyzed. In brief, the true must be disentangled 
from the false. Veritas, veritas! " 

" I hasten to anticipate a criticism on the part of my read- 
ers by apprising them, on the threshold of this plea, that I 
am not going to take the Davenport brothers as my subject, 
but only as the ostensible motive or pretext of the discus- 
sion, as they have been, for that matter, of the majority 
of the discussions. I shall deal in these pages with the facts 
brought to the surface again by these two Americans, 
facts inexplicable (which they have put on the stage at Herz 
Hall here in Paris, but which none the less existed before 
this mise-en-scene f and which none the less will exist even 
should the Davenport brothers' representations prove to be 
counterfeit), things which others had already exhibited, 
and still exhibit with as much facility and under much bet- 
ter conditions; occurrences, in short, which constitute the 


domain of the unknown forces to which have been given, 
one after another, five or six names explaining nothing. 
These forces, mind you, are as real as the attraction of 
gravitation, and as invisible as that. It is about facts that 
I here concern myself. Let them be brought to the light by 
Peter or by Paul, it concerns us little ; let them be imitated 
by Sosie * or parodied by Harlequin, still less does it con- 
cern us. The question is, Do these facts exist, and do they 
enter into the category of known physical forces ? 

" It amazes me, every time I think of it, that the majority 
of men are so densely ignorant of the psychic phenomena in 
question, considering the fact that they have been known, 
studied, valued, and recorded for a good long time now by 
all who have impartially followed the movement of thought 
during the last few lustrums. 

" I not only do not make common cause with the Daven- 
port brothers, but I ought furthermore to add that I con- 
sider them as placed in a very compromising situation. In 
laying to the account of the supernatural matters in occult 
natural philosophy which have a tolerable resemblance to 
feats of prestidigitation, they appear to a curious public 
to add imposture to insolence. In setting a financial value 
upon their talents, they seem to the moralist, who is investi- 
gating still unexplained phenomena, to place themselves on 
the level of mountebanks. Whatever way you look at them, 
they are to blame. Accordingly, I condemn at once 
both their grave error in assuming to be superior to the 
forces of which they are only the instruments and the venal 
profit they draw from powers of which they are not master 
and which it is no merit of theirs to possess. In my opin- 
ion, it is a piece of exaggeration to draw conclusions from 

* Sosie is a character in Plautus and Moliere. Hermes takes Sosie'a 
form, and, when the latter Bees his double, he almost doubts hia own 
identity. So the word came to mean a counterpart, a double, one's 
alter ego. Trans. 


these unhappy semblances of truth; and it is to abdicate 
one's right of private judgment to make one's self but the 
echo of the vulgar herd who hiss and shout themselves hoarse 
before the curtain rises. No, I am not the advocate of the 
two brothers, nor of their personal claims. For me, indi- 
vidual men do not exist. That which I defend is the su- 
periority of nature to us: that which I fight against is the 
conceited silliness of certain persons. 

" You satirical gentlemen will have the frankness, I hope, 
to confess with me that the different reasons pleaded by you 
in explanation of these problems are not so solid as they 
appear to be. Since you have discovered nothing, let us ad- 
mit, between ourselves, that your explanations explain noth- 

" I do not doubt that, at the point in the discussion which 
we have actually reached, you would like to change roles 
with me, and, stopping me here, constitute yourselves in turn 
my questioners. 

"But I hasten to anticipate your proposal. As for me, 
gentlemen, I am not sufficiently well informed to explain 
these mysteries. I pass my life in a retired garden belong- 
ing to one of the nine Muses, and my attachment to this fair 
creature is such that I have scarcely ever quitted the ap- 
proaches to her temple. It is only at intervals, in moments 
of relaxation or curiosity, that I have allowed my eyes to 
wander, from time to time, over the landscapes which sur- 
round it. Therefore ask me nothing. I am making a sin- 
cere confession. I know nothing of the cause of these 

" You see how modest I am. All I wanted in undertak- 
ing this examination was to have the opportunity of saying 

" You know nothing about it. 

" Neither do I. 


" If you acknowledge this, we can shake hands. And, if 
you are tractable, I will tell you a little secret. 

" In the month of June, 1776 (few among us remember 
it), a young man twenty-five years old, named Jouffroy, was 
making a trial trip on the river Doubs of a new steamboat 
forty feet in length and six feet in breadth. For two years 
he had been calling the attention of scientific authorities to 
his invention; for two years he had been stoutly asserting 
that there is a powerful latent energy in steam, at that 
time a neglected asset All ears were deaf to his words. 
His only reward was to be completely isolated and neglected. 
When he passed through the streets of Baume-lcs-Dames, 
his appearance was the signal for jests innumerable. He 
was dubbed 'Jouffroy, the Steam Man* (' Jouftroy-la- 
Pompe '). Ten years later, having built a pyroscaphe [lit- 
erally, fireboat] which had ascended the Saone from Lyons 
to the island of Barbe, he presented a petition to Calonne, 
the comptroller-general of finance, and to the Academy of 
Sciences. They would not look at his invention 1 

" On August 9, 1803, Fulton went up the Seine in a new 
steamboat at the rate of about four miles an hour. The 
members of the Academy of Sciences aa well as government 
officials were present on the occasion. The next day they 
had forgotten all about it, and Fulton went to make the 
fortunes of Americans. 

" In 1791 an Italian at Bologna, named Qalvani, having 
hung on the iron railing outside his window some skinned 
frogs which had been used in making a bouillon for his wife, 
noted that they moved automatically, although they had 
been killed since the evening before. The thing was in- 
credible, so everybody to whom he told it opposed his state- 
ment Men of sense would have thought it beneath their 
dignity to take the trouble to verify the story, so convinced 
were they of its impossibility. But Galvani had noted that 


the maximum of effect was attained when he joined the 
lumbar nerves and the ends of the feet of a frog by a metallic 
arc of tin and copper. The frog's muscles then jerked con- 
vulsively. He believed it was due to a nervous fluid, and 
so lost the fruit of his investigations. It was reserved for 
.Volta to discover electricity. 

" And to-day the globe is threaded with a network of trains 
drawn by flame-breathing dragons. Distances have disap- 
peared, annihilated by improvements in the locomotive. The 
genius of man has contracted the dimensions of the earth; 
the longest voyages are but excursions over definite lines 
(the curved paths of the ' ocean lanes ') ; the most gigantic 
tasks are accomplished by the tireless and powerful hand 
of this unknown force. A telegraphic despatch flies in the 
twinkling of an eye from one continent to another; a man 
can talk with a citizen of London or St. Petersburg without 
getting out of his arm-chair. And these wonders attract 
no special notice. We little think through what struggles, 
bitter disappointments and persecutions they came into be- 
ing! We forget that the impossible of yesterday is the 
accomplished fact of to-day. So it comes to pass that we 
still find men who come to us saying : ' Halt there, you 
little fellows! We don't understand you, therefore you 
don't know what you're talking about/ 

" Very well, gentlemen. However narrow may be your 
opinions, there is no reason for thinking that your myopia 
is to spread over the world. You are hereby informed that, 
in spite of you and in spite of your obscurantism and ob- 
struction tactics, the car of human progress will roll on and 
continue its triumphal march and conquest of new forces 
and powers. As in the case of Galvani's frog, the laughable 
occurrences that you refuse to believe reveal the existence 
of new unknown forces. There is no effect without a cause. 
Man is the least known of all beings. We have learned 


how to measure the sun, cross the deeps of space, analyze the 
light of the stars, and yet have not dropped a plummet into 
our own souls. Man is dual, homo duplex; and this 
double nature remains a mystery to him. We think: what 
is thought? No one can say. We walk: what is that or- 
ganic act I No one knows. My will is an immaterial force ; 
all the faculties of my soul are immaterial. Nevertheless, 
if I will to move my arm, my will moves matter. How 
does it act ? What is the mediator between mind and mus- 
cle ? As yet no one can say. Tell me how the optic nerve 
transmits to the thinking brain the perception of outward 
objects. Tell me how thought is born, where it resides, what 
is the nature of cerebral action. Tell me but no, gentle- 
men: I could question you for ten years on a stretch, and 
the most eminent of you could not answer the least of my 

" We have here, as in the preceding cases, the unknown 
clement in a problem. I am far from claiming that the 
force that comes into play in these phenomena can one day 
be financially exploited, as in the case of electricity and 
steam. Such an idea has not the slightest interest for me. 
But, though differing essentially from these forces, the mys- 
terious psychic force none the less exists. 

" In the course of the long and laborious studies to which 
I have consecrated many a night, as a relief or by-play in 
more important work, I have always observed in these phe- 
nomena the action of a force the properties of which are to 
us unknown. Sometimes it has seemed to me analogous to 
that which puts to sleep the magnetized subject under the 
will of the hypnotizer (a reality this, also slighted even by 
men of science). Again, in other circumstances, it has 
seemed to me analogous to the curious freaks of the light- 
ning. Still, I believe I can affirm it to be a force distinct 


from all that we know, and which more than any other re- 
sembles intelligence. 

" A certain savant with whom I am acquainted, M. 
Fremy, of the Institute, has recently presented to the Acad- 
emy of Science, apropos of spontaneous generation, sub- 
stances which he has called semi-organic. I believe I am 
not perpetrating a neologism bolder than this when I say 
that the force of which I am speaking has seemed to me 
to belong to the semi-intellectual plane. 

" Some years ago I gave these forces the name psychic. 
That name can be justified. 

" But words are nothing. They often resemble cuirasses, 
hiding the real impression that ideas should produce in 
us. That is the reason why it is perhaps better not to name 
a thing that we are not yet able to define. If we did, we 
should find ourselves so shackled afterwards as not to have 
perfect freedom in our conclusions. It has often been seen 
in history that a premature hypothesis has arrested the prog- 
ress of science, says Grove : ' When natural phenomena 
are observed for the first time, a tendency immediately arises 
to relate them to something already known. The new phe- 
nomenon may be quite remote from the ideas with which 
one would compare it. It may belong to a different order 
of analogies. But this distinction cannot be perceived, since 
the necessary data or co-ordinates are lacking.' Now the 
theory originally announced is soon accepted by the public; 
and when it happens that subsequent facts, different from 
the preceding, fail to fit the mould, it is difficult to enlarge 
this without breaking it, and people often prefer to abandon 
a theory now proved erroneous, and silently ignore the in- 
tractable facts. As to the special phenomena in question in 
this little volume, I find them implicitly embodied in three 
words uttered nearly twenty centuries ago, MENS AGITAT 
MOLEM (mind acting on matter gives it life and mo- 


tion) ; and I leave the phenomena embedded in these words, 
like fire in the flint. I will not strike with the steel, for the 
spark is still dangerous. ' Periculosum est credere et non 
credere ' (* It is dangerous to believe and not to believe '), 
says the ancient fabulist Phsedrus. To deny facts a priori 
is mere conceit and idiocy. To accept them without investi- 
gation is weakness and folly. Why seek to press on so 
eagerly and prematurely into regions to which our poor 
powers cannot yet attain? The way is full of snares and 
bottomless pits. The phenomena we are treating in these 
pages do not perhaps throw new light upon the solution of 
the great problem of immortality, but they invite us to re- 
member that there are in man elements to study, to deter- 
mine, to analyze, elements still unexplained, and which 
belong to the psychic realm. 

" There has been much talk about Spiritualism in connec- 
tion with these phenomena. Some of its defenders have 
thought to strengthen it by supporting it on so weak a basis 
as that. The scoffers have thought they could positively 
ruin the creed of the psychics, and, hurling it from its base, 
bury it under a fallen wardrobe (I'eboulement d'une 
armoire).* Now the first-named have rather compromised 
than assisted the cause: the others have not overturned it 
after all. Even if it should be proved that Spiritualism 
consists only of tricks of legerdemain, the belief in the ex- 
istence of souls separate from the body would not be affected 
in the slightest degree. Besides, the deceptions of mediums 
do not prove that they are always tricky. They only put 
us on our guard, and induce us to keep a stern watch upon 

" As to the psychological question of the soul and the an- 

* This seems to be a reference to the wardrobe used by the early 
Spiritualists as a cabinet in their demonstrations in public halls. Tran*. 


alysis of spiritual forces, we are just where chemistry was at 
the time of Albert the Great: we don't know. 

" Can we not then keep the golden mean between negation, 
which denies all, and credulity, which accepts all? Is it 
rational to deny everything that we cannot understand, or, 
on the contrary, to believe all the follies that morbid imagi- 
nations give birth to, one after another? Can we not pos- 
sess at once the humility which becomes the weak and the 
dignity which becomes the strong ? 

" I end this plea, as I began it, by declaring that it is not 
for the sake of the brothers Davenport, nor of any sect, nor 
of any group, nor, in short, of any person whatever, that 
I have entered the lists of controversy, but solely for the 
sake of facts the reality of which I ascertained several years 
ago, without having discovered their cause. However, I 
have no reason to fear that those who do not know me will 
take a fancy to misrepresent my thought; and I think that 
those who are acquainted with me know that I am not accus- 
tomed to swing a censer in any one's honor. I repeat for 
the last time: I am not concerned with individuals. My 
mind seeks the truth, and recognizes it wherever it finds 
it. ' Gallus escam qucerens margaritam reperit." * 

A certain number of my readers have been for some time 
kindly expressing a wish for a new edition of this early 
book. But strictly speaking I could not do this without 
considerably enlarging my original plan and composing an 
entirely new work. The daily routine of my astronomical 
labors has constantly hindered me from devoting myself to 
that task. The starry heaven is a vast and absorbing field of 
work, and it is difficult to turn aside (even for a relaxation in 
itself scientific) from the exacting claims of a science which 
goes on developing unceasingly at a most prodigious rate. 

Still, the present work may be considered as, in a sense, 

* The cock scratching for grain fincU a pearl. 


an enlarged edition of the earlier one. The foregoing cita- 
tion of a little book written for the purpose of proving tho 
existence of unknown forces in nature has seemed to me 
necessary here; useful in this new volume, brought out 
for the same purpose after more than forty years of study, 
since it may serve to show the continuity and consistent 
development of my thought on the subject. 





I purpose to show in this book what truth there is in the 
phenomena of table-turnings, table-movings, and table-rap- 
pings, in the communications received therefrom, in levita- 
tions that contradict the laws of gravity, in the moving of 
objects without contact, in unexplained noises, in the stories 
told of haunted houses, all to be considered from the phys- 
ical and mechanical point of view. Under all the just men- 
tioned heads we can group material facts produced by causes 
still unknown to science, and it is with these physical phe- 
nomena that we shall specially occupy ourselves here ; for the 
first point is to definitely prove, by sufficient observations, 
their real existence. Hypotheses, theories, doctrines, will 
come later. 

In the country of Rabelais, of Montaigne, of Voltaire, we 
are inclined to smile at everything that relates to the mar- 
vellous, to tales of enchantment, the extravagances of occult- 
ism, the mysteries of magic. This arises from a reasonable 
prudence. But it does not go far enough. To deny and 
prejudge a phenomenon has never proved anything. The 
truth of almost every fact which constitutes the sum of the 
positive sciences of our day has been denied. What we 
ought to do is to admit no unverified statement, to apply 
to every subject of study, no matter what, the experimental 
method, without any preconceived idea whatever, either for 
or against 



We are dealing here with a great problem, which touches 
on that of the survival of human consciousness. We may 
study it, in spite of smiles. 

When we consecrate our lives to an idea, useful, noble, 
exalted, we should not hesitate for a moment to sacrifice 
personalities; above all, our own self, our interest, our self- 
esteem, our natural vanity. This sacrifice is a criterion by 
which I have estimated a good many characters. How many 
men, how many women, put their miserable little person- 
ality above everything else! 

If the forces of which we are to treat are real, they can 
not but be natural forces. We ought to admit, as an abso- 
lute principle, that everything is in nature, even God him- 
self, as I have shown in another work. Before any attempt 
at theory, the first thing to do is to scientifically establish 
the real existence of these forces. 

Mediumistic experiences might form (and doubtless soon 
will form) a chapter in physics. Only it is a kind of tran- 
scendental physics which touches on life and thought, and 
the forces in play are pre-eminently living forces, psychic 

I shall relate in the following chapter the experiments I 
made between the years 1861 and 1865, previous to tho 
penning of the protest, reprinted in the long citation above 
given (in the Introduction). But, since in certain respects 
they are summed up in those I have just had, in 1906, I 
will begin by describing the latter in this first chapter. 

In fact, I have recently renewed these investigations with 
a celebrated medium, Mme. Eusapia Paladino, of Naples, 
who has been several times in Paris; namely, in 1898, 1905, 
and, very recently, in 1906. The things I am going to 
speak of happened in the salon of my home in Paris, the 
last ones in full light without any preparation, very simply, 
as if during after-dinner talks. 


Let me add that this medium came to Paris during the 
first months of the year, 1906, at the invitation of the 
Psychological Institute, several members of which have been 
recently engaged in researches begun long ago. Among 
these savants I will mention the name of the lamented Pierre 
Curie, the eminent chemist, with whom I had a conversa- 
tion a few days before his unfortunate and terrible death. 
My mediumistic experiences with Mme. Paladino formed 
for him a new chapter in the great book of nature, and he 
also was convinced that there exist hidden forces to the 
investigation of which it is not unscientific to consecrate 
one's self. His subtle and penetrating genius would per- 
haps have quickly determined the character of these forces. 

Those who have given some little attention to these psycho- 
logical studies are acquainted with the powers of Mme. Pala- 
dino. The published works of Count de Rochas, of Professor 
Richet, of Dr. Dariex, of M. G. de Fontenay, and nota- 
bly the Annales des sciences psychiques, have pointed them 
out and described them in such detail that it would be su- 
perfluous to recur to them at this point. Farther on we 
shall find a place for discussing them. 

Running underneath all the observations of the above-men- 
tioned writers, one dominant idea can be read as if in palimp- 
sest; namely, the imperious necessity the experimenters are 
constantly under of suspecting tricks in this medium (Mme. 
Paladino). But all mediums, men and women, have to be 
watched. During a period of more than forty years I be- 
lieve that I have received at my home nearly all of them, 
men and women of divers nationalities and from every quar- 
ter of the globe. One may lay it down as a principle that 
all professional mediums cheat. But they do not always 
cheat ; and they possess real, undeniable psychic powers. 

Their case is nearly that of the hysterical folk under ob- 
servation at the Salpetriere or elsewhere. I have seen some 


of them outwit with their profound craft not only Dr. 
Charcot, but especially Dr. Luys, and all the physicians who 
were making a study of their case. But, because hysteriacs 
deceive and simulate, it would be a gross error to conclude 
that hysteria does not exist. And, because mediums fre- 
quently descend to the most brazen-faced imposture, it would 
not be less absurd to conclude that mediumship has no ex- 
istence. Disreputable somnambulists do not forbid the ex- 
istence of magnetism, hypnotism, and genuine somnambu- 

This necessity of being constantly on our guard has dis- 
couraged more than one investigator, as the illustrious as- 
tronomer Schiaparelli, director of the Observatory of Milan, 
specially wrote me, in a letter which will appear farther on. 

Still, we have got to endure this evil. 

The words "fraud" (supercherie) and "trickery*' (tri* 
cherie) have in this connection a sense a little different from 
their ordinary meaning. Sometimes the mediums deceive pur- 
posely, knowing well what they are doing, and enjoying the 
fun. But oftener they unconsciously deceive, impelled by the 
desire to produce the phenomena that people are expecting. 

They help on the success of the experiment when that suc- 
cess is slow in its appearance. Mediums who deal with objec- 
tive phenomena are gifted with the power of causing objects 
at a distance to move, of lifting tables, etc. But they usu- 
ally appear to apply this power at the ends of their fingers, 
and the objects to be moved have to be within reach of their 
hands or feet, a very regrettable thing, and one which 
furnishes fine sport for the prejudiced sceptics. Sometimes 
the mediums act like the billiard player, who continues for 
an instant the gesture of hand and arm, holding his cue 
pointed at the rolling ivory ball, and leaning forward as if 
by his will he could push it to a carom. He knows very well 
that he has no further power over the fate of the ball, which 


his initial stroke alone impels ; but he guides its course by his 
thought and his gesture. 

It may not be superfluous to caution the reader that the 
word " medium " is employed in these pages without any 
preconceived idea, and not in the etymological sense in which 
it took its rise at the time of the first Spiritualistic theories, 
which affirmed that the man or the woman endowed with 
psychic powers is an intermediary between spirits and those 
who are experimenting. (The person who has the power 
of causing objects to move contrary to the laws of gravity 
(even sometimes without touching them), of causing sounds 
to be heard at a distance and without any exertion of mus- 
cular force, and of bringing before the eyes various appari- 
tions, has not necessarily, on that account, any bond of union 
with disembodied minds or souls. We shall keep this word 
" medium," however, now so long in use. We are concerned 
here only with facts. I hope to convince the reader that 
these things really exist, and are neither illusions nor farces, 
nor feats of prestidigitation. My object is to prove their 
reality with absolute certainty, to do for them what (in 
my volume The Unknown and the Psychic Problems) I 
have done for telepathy, the apparitions of the dying, pre- 
monitory dreams, and clairvoyance. 

I shall begin, I repeat, with experiments which I have 
recently renewed; namely, during four seances on March 
29, April 5, May 30, and June 7, of 1906. 

1. Take the case of the levitation of a round table. I 
have so often seen a rather heavy table lifted to a height 
of eight, twelve, sixteen inches from the floor, and I have 
taken such undeniably authentic photographs of these; I 
have so often proved to myself that the suspension of this 
article of furniture by the imposition upon it of the hands 
of four or five persons produces the effect of a floating 
in a tub full of water or other elastic fluid, that, for me, 


the levitation of objects is no more doubtful than that of a 
pair of scissors lifted by the aid of a magnet. But one 
evening when I was almost alone with Eusapia, March 29, 
1906 (there were four of us altogether), being desirous of 
examining at leisure how the thing was done, I asked her 
to place her hands with mine upon the table, the other per- 
sons remaining at a distance. The table very soon rose 
to a height of fifteen or twenty inches wliile we were both 
standing. At the moment of the production of the phe- 
nomenon the medium placed one of her hands on one of 
mine, which she pressed energetically, our two other hands 
resting side by side. Moreover, on her part, as on mine, 
there was an act of will expressed in words of command ad- 
dressed to " the spirit " : " Come now ! Lift the table ! 
Take courage ! Come 1 Try now ! " etc. 

We ascertained at once that there were two elements or 
constituents present. On the one hand, the experimenters 
address an invisible entity. On the other hand, the medium 
experiences a nervous and muscular fatigue, and her weight 
increases in proportion to that of the object lifted (but not 
in exact proportion). 

We are obliged to act as if there really were a being pres- 
ent who is listening. This being appears to come into ex- 
istence, and then become non-existent as soon as the experi- 
ment is ended. It seems to be created by the medium. Is 
it an auto-suggestion of hers or of the dynamic ensemble 
of the experimenters that creates a special force? Is it a 
doubling of her personality? Is it the condensation of a 
psychic milieu in the midst of which we live ? If we seek 
to obtain proofs of actual and permanent individuality, and 
above all of the identity of a particular soul called up in our 
memory, we never obtain any satisfaction. There lies the 


Conclusion : we have here an unknown force of the psychic 
class, a living force, the life of a moment only. 

May it not be possible that, in exerting ourselves, we give 
rise to a detachment of forces which acts exteriorly to our 
body? But this is not the place, in these first pages, to 
make hypotheses. 

The experiment of which I have just spoken was repeated 
three times running, in the full light of a gas chandelier, 
and under the same conditions of complete proof in each 
case. 'A round table weighing about fourteen pounds is 
lifted by this unknown force. A table of twenty-five or 
fifty pounds or more requires a greater number of persons. 
But they will get no result if one at least among them is 
not gifted with the mediumistic power. 

And let me add, on the other hand, that there is in such 
an experiment so great an expenditure of nervous and mus- 
cular energy that such an extraordinary medium as Eusapia, 
for instance, can obtain scarcely any results six hours, twelve 
hours, even twenty-four hours, after a seance in which she 
has so lavishly expended her psychic energy. 

I will add that quite often the table continues to rise even 
after the experimenters have ceased to touch it. This is 
movement without contact. 

This phenomenon of levitation is, to me, absolutely proved," 
although we cannot explain it. It is like what would hap- 
pen if one had his hands gloved with loadstone, and, placing 
them on a table of iron, should lift it from the ground. But 
the action is not so simple as that: it is a case of psychic 
activity exterior to ourselves, momentarily in operation.* 

* In order that I may at once place before the eyes of my readers 
documentary evince of these experiments, I reproduce heTe (PI I) 
a photograph taken at my apartments on the 12th of November in 

s h ; t^-T can P erC6ive v> the h ntality of the arms as weU 
as by the distance between the feet of the table and the floor that the 

on"t^ 9 r e fr Z,r t0 6ight inche9 ' The P^cise distance^ marked 

the figure itself, a measurement taken the next day by propping 

up the table, with the aid of books, in the same position as it was! 


Now how are these levitations and movements pro- 

How is it that a stick of sealing-wax or a lamp-chimney, 
when rubbed, attracts bits of paper or elder pith ? 

How is it that a particle of iron grips so firmly to the 
loadstone when brought near it? 

How is it that electricity accumulates in the vapor of 
water, in the molecules of a cloud, until it gives rise to the 
thunder, the thunderbolt, the lightning flash, and all their 
formidable results? 

How is it that the thunderbolt strips the clothes from a 
man or a woman with its characteristic nonchalance ? 

And (to take a simple instance), without departing from 
our common and normal condition of life, how is it that we 
raise our arm ? 

2. Take now a specimen of another group of cases. The 
medium places one of her hands upon that of some per- 
son, and with the other beats the air, with one, two, 
three, or four strokes or raps. The raps are heard in the 
table, and you feel the vibrations at the same time that you 
hear them, sharp blows which make you think of electric 
shocks. It is superfluous to state that the feet of the me- 
dium do not touch those of the table, but are kept at a dis- 
tance from them. 

The medium next places her hands with ours upon the 
table, and the taps heard in the table are stronger than in 
the preceding case. 

These taps audible in the table, this " typtology " well 

The medium has her two feet wholly under my right foot, while at 
the same time her knees are under my right hand. Her hands are 
upon the table grasped by my left hand and by that of the other 
critical observer or "control (contrdleur) , who has just placed a 
cushion before her to shield her very sensitive eyes from the flash of 
the magnesium light, and thus save her from a disagreeable nervous 

These photographs, taken rapidly by magnesium light, are not per- 
fect, but they are records. 





known to Spiritualists, have been frequently attributed 
to some kind of trickery or another, to a cracking 
muscle or to various actions of the medium. After 
the comparative study I have made of these special 
occurrences I believe I am right in affirming that this fact 
also is not less certain than the first. Rappings, as is well 
known, are obtained in all kinds of rhythms, and responses 
to all questions are obtained through simple conventions, 
by which it is agreed, for instance, that three taps shall 
mean " yes " and two mean " no," and that, while the let- 
ters of the alphabet are being read, words can be dictated by 
taps made as each letter is named. 

3. During our experiments, while we four persons are 
seated around a table asking for a communication which 
does not arrive, an arm-chair, placed about twenty-four 
inches from the medium's foot (upon which I have placed 
my foot to make sure that she cannot use hers), an arm- 
chair, I say, begins to move, and comes sliding up to us. 
I push it back; it returns. It is a stuffed affair (pouf), 
very heavy, but easily capable of gliding over the floor. 
This thing happened on the 29th of last March, and again 
on April 5th. 

It could have been done by drawing the chair with a string 
or by the medium putting her foot sufficiently far out. 
But it happened over and over again (five or six times), 
automatically moving, and that so violently that the chair 
jumped about the floor in a topsy-turvy fashion and ended 
by falling bottom side up without anybody having touched 

4. Here is a fourth case re-observed this year, after hav- 
ing been several times verified by me, notably in 1898. 

Curtains near the medium, but which it is impossible for 
her to touch, either with the hand or the foot, swell out their 
whole length, as if inflated by a gusty wind. I have several 


times seen them envelop the heads of the spectators as if with 
cowls of Capuchin monies. 

5. Here is a fifth instance, authenticated by me several 
times, and always with the same care. 

While I am holding one hand of Eusapia in mine, and one 
of my astronomical friends, tutor at the Ecolc Polyteclmiqur, 
is holding the other, we are touched, first one and then the 
other, upon the side and on the shoulders, as if by an in- 
visible hand. 

The medium usually tries to get together her two hands, 
held separately by each of us, and by a skilful substitution to 
make us believe we hold both when she has succeeded in dis- 
engaging one. This fraud being well known by us, wo 
act the part of forewarned spectators, and are positive that 
we have each succeeded in holding her hands apart The 
touchings in this experiment seem to proceed from an in- 
visible entity and are rather disagreeable. Those which 
take place in the immediate vicinity of the medium could be 
due to fraud ; but to some of them this explanation is inap- 

This is the place to remark that, unfortunately, the ex- 
traordinary character of the phenomena is in direct ratio with 
the absence of light, and we are continually asked by the me- 
dium to turn down the gas, almost to the vanishing point : 
" Meno luce! meno luce! " (" Less light, less light "). This, 
of course, is advantageous to all kinds of fraud. But it is a 
condition no more obligatory than the others. There is in 
it no implication of a threat. 

We can get a large number of mediumistic phenamoMI 
with a light strong enough for us to distinguish things with 
certainty. Still, it is a fact that light is unfavorable to tho 
production of phenomena. 

This is annoying. Yet we have no right to impose the 
opposite condition. We have no right to demand of nature 


conditions which happen to suit us. It would be just as rea- 
sonable to try to get a photographic negative without a dark 
room, or to draw electricity from a rotating machine in the 
midst of an atmosphere saturated with moisture. Light is 
a natural agent capable of producing certain effects and of 
opposing the production of others. 

This aphorism calls to my mind an anecdote in the life 
of Daguerre, related in the first edition of this book. 

One evening this illustrious natural philosopher meets an 
elegant and fashionable woman in the neighborhood of the 
Opera House, of which he was at that time the decorator. 
Enthusiastic over his progress in natural philosophy, he hap- 
pens to speak of his photogenic studies. He tells her of a 
marvellous discovery by which the features of the face can 
be fixed upon a plate of silver. The lady, who is a person 
of plain common sense, courteously laughs in his face. The 
savant goes on with his story, without being disconcerted. 
He even adds that it is possible for the phenomenon to take 
place instantaneously when the processes become perfected. 
But he has his pains for his trouble. His charming com- 
panion is not credulous enough to accept such an extrava- 
gance. Paint without colors and without a brush! design 
without pen or crayon! as if a portrait could get painted 
all by itself, etc. But the inventor is not discouraged, and, 
to convince her, offers to make her portrait by this process. 
The lady is unwilling to be thought a dupe and refuses. But 
the skilful artist pleads his cause so well that he overcomes 
her objections. The blond daughter of Eve consents to pose 
before the object-glass. But she makes one condition, 
only one. 

Her beauty is at its best in the evening, and she feels a 
little faded in the garish light of day. 

" If you could take me in the evening " 
" But, madaine, it is impossible " . 


" Why ? You say that your invention reproduces the 
face, feature by feature. I prefer my features of the even- 
ing over those of the morning." 

" Madame, it is the light itself which pencils the image, 
and without it I can do nothing." 

" We will light a chandelier, a lamp, do anything to please 

" No, madame, the light of day is imperative." 

" Will you please tell me why ? " 

" Because the light of the sun exhibits an intense activity, 
sufficient to decompose the iodide of silver. So far, I have 
not been able to take a photograph except in full sunlight." 

Both remained obstinate, the lad maintaining that what 
could be done at ten o'clock in the i orning could also easily 
be done at ten o'clock in the evening. The inventor affirmed 
the contrary. 

So, then, all you have to do, gentlemen, is to forbid the 
light to blacken iodine, or order it to blacken lime, and con- 
demn the photographer to develop his negative in full light. 
Ask Electricity why it will pass instantaneously from one 
end to the other of an iron wire a thousand miles long and 
why it refuses to traverse a thread of glass half an inch 
long. Beg the night-blooming flowers to expand in the day, 
or those that only bloom in the light not to close at dusk. 
Give me the explanation of the respiration of plants, diurnal 
and nocturnal, and of the production of chlorophyll and how 
plants develop a green color in the light; why they breatlio 
in oxygen and exhale carbonic acid gas during the night, 
and reverse the process during the day. Change the equiva- 
lents of simple substances in chemistry, and order combina- 
tions to be produced. Forbid azotic acid to boil at the freez- 
ing temperature, and command water to boil at zero. You 
have only to ask these accommodations and nature will obey 
you, gentlemen, depend upon it. 


A good many phenomena of nature only occur in ob- 
scurity. The germs of plants, animals, man, in forming a 
new being, work their miracle only in the dark. 

Here, in a flask, is a mixture of hydrogen and chlorine in 
equal volumes. If you wish to preserve the mixture, you 
must keep the flask in the dark, whether you want to or 
not. Such is the law. As long as it remains in the dark, 
it will retain its properties. But suppose you take a school- 
boy notion to expose the thing to the action of light. In- 
stantly a violent explosion is heard; the hydrogen and the 
chlorine disappear, and you find in the flask a new substance, 
chloridic acid. There is no use in your finding fault: 
darkness respects the two substances, while light explodes 

If we should hear a malignant sceptic of some clique or 
other say, " I will only believe in jack-o'-lanterns when I 
see them in the light of day," what should we think of his 
sanity ? About what we should think if he should add that 
the stars are not certainties, since they are only seen at night. 

In all the observations and experiments of physics there 
are conditions to be observed. In those of which we are 
speaking a too strong light seems to imperil the success of 
the experiment. But it goes without saying that precau- 
tions against deception ought to increase in direct ratio with 
the decrease of visibility and other means of verification. 

Let us return to our experiments. 

6. Taps are heard in the table, or it moves, rises, falls 
back, raps with its leg. A kind of interior movement is 
produced in the wood, violent enough, sometimes, to break 
it. The round table I made use of (with others) in my 
home was dislocated and repaired more than once, and it 
was by no means the pressure of the hands upon it that could 
have caused the dislocations. No, there is something more 


than that in it: there is in the actions of the table the inter- 
vention of mind, of which I have already spoken. 

The table is questioned, by means of the conventional 
signs described a few pages back, and it responds. Phrases 
are rapped out, usually banal and without any literary, sci- 
entific, or philosophical value. But, at any rate, words are 
rapped out, phrases are dictated. These phrases do not come 
of their own accord, nor is it the medium who taps them 
consciously either with her foot or her hand, or by the aid 
of a snapping muscle, for we obtain them in seances held 
without professional mediums and at scientific reunions 
where the existence of trickery would be a thing of the 
greatest absurdity. The mind of the medium and that of 
the experimenters most assuredly have something to do with 
the mystery. The replies obtained generally tally the in- 
tellectual status of the company, as if the intellectual facul- 
ties of the persons present were exterior to their brains and 
were acting in the table wholly unknown to the experimenters 
themselves. How can this thing be ? How can we compose 
and dictate phrases without knowing it. Sometimes the 
ideas broached seem to come from a personality unknown 
to the company, and the hypothesis of spirits quite naturally 
presents itself. A word is begun; some one thinks he can 
divine its ending; to save time, he writes it down; the table 
parries, is agitated, impatient. It is the wrong word; an- 
other was being dictated. There is here, then, a psychic 
element which we are obliged to recognize, whatever its -na- 
ture may be when analyzed. 

The success of experiments does not always depend on the 
will of the medium. Of course that is the chief element in 
it; but certain conditions independent of her are necessary. 
The psychical atmosphere created by the persons present has 
an influence that cannot be neglected. So the state of health 
of the medium is not without its influence. If he is fatigued, 


although he may have the best will in the world, the value 
of the results will be affected. I had a new proof of this 
thing, so often observed, at my house, with Eusapia Pala- 
dino, on May 30, 1906. She had for more than a month 
been suffering from a rather painful affection of the eyes; 
and furthermore her legs were considerably swollen. We 
were seven, of whom two lookers-on were sceptics. The re- 
sults were almost nil; namely, the lifting, during scarcely 
two seconds of time, of a round table weighing about four 
pounds; the tipping up of one side of a four-legged table; 
and a few rappings. Still, the medium seemed animated by 
a real wish to obtain some result. She confessed to me, how- 
ever, that what had chiefly paralyzed her faculties was the 
sceptical and sarcastic spirit of one of the two incredulous 
persons. I knew of the absolute scepticism of this man. 
It had not been manifested in any way; but Eusapia had 
at once divined it. 

The state of mind of the by-standers, sympathetic or anti- 
pathetic, has an influence upon the production of the phe- 
nomena. This is an incontestable matter of observation. I 
am not speaking here merely of a tricky medium rendered 
powerless to act by a too close critical inspection, but also 
of a hostile force which may more or less neutralize the 
sincerest volition. Is it not the same, moreover, in assem- 
blies, large or small, in conferences, in salons, etc. ? Do we 
not often see persons of baleful and antipathetic spirit de- 
feat at their very beginning the accomplishment of the 
noblest purposes. 

Here are the results of another sitting of the same medium 
held a few days afterwards. 

On the 7th of June, 1906, I had been informed by my 
friend Dr. Ostwalt, the skilled oculist, who was at that time 
treating Eusapia, that she was to be at his house that even- 
ing and that perhaps I would be able to try a new experi- 


ment. I accepted with all the more readiness because the 
mother-in-law of the doctor, Mme. Werner, to whom I had 
been attached by a friendship of more than thirty years, 
had been dead a year, and had many a time promised me, 
in the most formal manner, to appear after her death for 
the purpose of giving completeness to my psychical re- 
searches by a manifestation, if the thing was possible. We 
had so often conversed on these subjects, and she was so 
deeply interested in them, that she had renewed her prom- 
ise very emphatically a few days before her death. And 
at the same time she made a similar promise to her daughter 
and to her son-in-law. 

Eusapia, also, on her part, grateful for the care she had 
received at the doctor's hands and for the curing of her 
eye, wished to be agreeable to him in any way she could. 

The conditions, then, were in all respects excellent I 
agreed with the doctor that we had before us four possible 
hypotheses, and that we should seek to fix on the most proba- 
ble one. 

a. What would take place might be due to fraud, con- 
scious or unconscious. 

6. The phenomena might be produced by a physical force 
emanating from the medium. 

c. Or by one or several invisible entities making use of 
this force. 

d. Or by Mme. Werner herself. 

We had on that evening some movements of the table and 
a complete lifting of the four feet to a height of about 
eight inches. Six of us sat around the table, Eusapia, 
Madame and Monsieur Ostwalt, their son Pierre, sixteen 
years old, my wife and myself. Our hands placed above 
the table scarcely touched it, and were almost wholly de- 
tached at the moment it rose from the floor. No fraud pos- 
sible. Full light. 


The seance then continued in the dark. The two por- 
tieres of a great double-folding door, against which the me- 
dium was seated, her back to the door, were blown about 
for nearly an hour, sometimes so violently as to form some- 
thing like a monk's hood on the head of the doctor and that 
of his wife. 

This great door was several times shaken violently, and 
tremendous blows were struck upon it. 

We tried to obtain words by means of the alphabet, but 
without success. (I will remark in this connection that 
Eusapia knows neither how to read nor to write.) 

Pierre Ostwalt was able to write a word with the pencil. 
It seemed as if an invisible force was guiding his hand. The 
word he pencilled down was the first name of Mme. Werner, 
well known to him. 

In spite of all our efforts, we were unable to obtain a 
single proof of identity. Yet it would have been very easy 
for Mme. Werner to find one, as she had so solemnly prom- 
ised us to do. 

In spite of the announcement by raps that an apparition 
would appear which we would be permitted to see, we were 
only able to perceive a dim white form, devoid of precise out- 
line, even when we manipulated the light so as to get al- 
most complete darkness. From this new sitting the follow- 
ing conclusions are deduced : 

a. Fraud cannot explain the phenomena, especially the 
levitation of the table, the violent blows and shakings given 
to the door, and the projection of the curtain into the room. 

6. These phenomena are certainly produced by a force 
emanating from the medium, for they all occur in her imme- 
diate neighborhood. 

c. This force is intelligent. But it is possible that this 
intelligence which obeys our requests is only that of the 

4 A V i ft 


d. Nothing proves that the spirit evoked had any influ- 

These propositions, however, will be examined and de- 
veloped one by one in the pages that follow. 

All the experiments described in this first chapter reveal 
to us unknown forces in operation. It will be the same in 
the chapters that follow. 

These phenomena are so unexplained, so inexplicable, so 
incredible, that the simplest plan is to deny them, to attrib- 
ute them all to fraud or to hallucination, and to believe 
that all the participators are sand-blind. 

Unfortunately for our opponents, this hypothesis is inad- 

Let me say here that there are very few men and above 
all, women whose spirit is completely free; that is, in a 
condition capable of accepting, without any preconceived 
idea, new or unexplained facts. In general, people are dis- 
posed to admit only those facts or things for which they are 
prepared by the ideas they have received, cherished, and 
maintained. Perhaps there is not one human being in a 
hundred who is capable of making a mental record of a new 
impression, simply, freely, exactly, with the accuracy of a 
photographic camera. Absolute independence of judgment 
is a rare thing among men. 

A single fact accurately observed, even if it should con- 
tradict all science, is worth more than all the hypotheses. 

But only the independent minds, free from the classic 
leading-strings which tie the dogmatists to their chairs, 
dare to study extra-scientific facts or consider them pos- 

I am acquainted with erudite men of genius, members 
of the Academy of Sciences, professors at the university, 
masters in our great schools, who reason in the following 
way : " Such and such phenomena are impossible because 


they are in contradiction with the actual state of science. 
We should only admit what we can explain." 

They call that scientific reasoning! 

Examples. Frauenhofer discovers that the solar spec- 
trum is crossed by dark lines. These dark lines could not 
be explained in his time. Therefore we ought not to be- 
lieve in them. 

Newton discovers that the stars move as if they were 
governed by an attractive force. This attraction could not 
be explained in his time. Nor is it explained to-day. New- 
ton himself takes the pains to declare that he does not wish 
to explain it by an hypothesis. " Hypotheses non fingo " 
("I do not make hypotheses "). So, after the reasoning of 
our pseudo-logicians, we ought not to admit universal gravi- 
tation. Oxygen combined with hydrogen forms water. 
How ? We don't know. Hence we ought not to admit the 

Stones sometimes fall from the sky. The Academy of 
Sciences of the eighteenth century, not being able to divine 
where they came from, simply denied the fact, which had 
been observed for thousands of years. They denied also that 
fish and toads can fall from the clouds, because it had not 
then been observed that waterspouts draw them up by suction 
and transport them from one place to another. A medium 
places his hand upon a table and seems actually to transmit 
to it independent life. It is inexplicable, therefore it is 
false. Yet that is the predominant method of reasoning of 
a great number of scholars. They are only willing to admit 
what is known and explained. They declared that locomo- 
tives would not be able to move, or, if they did succeed, rail- 
ways would introduce no change in social relations; that the 
transatlantic telegraph would never transmit a despatch ; that 
vaccine would not render immune; and at one time they 
stoutly maintained (this was long ago) that the earth does 


not revolve. It seems that they even condemned Galileo. 
Everything has been denied. 

Apropos of facts somewhat similar to those we are here 
studying, I mean the stigmata of Louise Lateau, a very 
famous German scholar, Professor Virchow, closed his report 
to the Berlin Academy with this dilemma: Fraud or 
Miracle. This conclusion acquired a classic vogue. But it 
was an error, for it is now known that stigmata are due 
neither to fraud nor miracle. 

Another rather common objection is presented by certain 
persons apparently scientific. Confounding experience with 
observation, they imagine that a natural phenomenon, in 
order to be real, ought to be able to be produced at will, as 
in a laboratory. After this manner of looking at things, 
an eclipse of the sun would not be a real thing, nor a stroke 
of lightning which sets fire to a house, nor an aerolite that 
falls from the sky. An earthquake, a volcanic eruption, are 
phenomena of observation, not of experiment But they 
none the less exist, often to the great damage of the human 
race. Now, in the order of facts that we are studying here, 
we can almost never experiment, but only observe, and this 
reduces considerably the range of the field of study. And, 
even when we do experiment, the phenomena are not pro- 
duced at will: certain elements, several of which we have 
not yet been able to get hold of, intervene to cross, modify, 
and thwart them, so that for the most part we can only 
play the role of observers. The difference is analogous to 
that which separates chemistry from astronomy. In chem- 
istry we experiment: in astronomy we observe. But this 
does not hinder astronomy from being the most exact of the 

Mediumistic phenomena that come directly under the ob- 
servation, notably those I have described some pages back, 
have for me the stamp of absolute certainty and incontesta- 


bility, and amply suffice to prove that unknown physical 
forces exist outside of the ordinary and established domain 
of natural philosophy. As a principle, moreover, this is an 
unimpeachable tenet.* 

I could adduce still other instances, for example the fol- 
lowing : 

7. During seance experiments, phantoms often appear, 
hands, arms, a head, a bust, an entire human figure. I was 
a witness of this thing, especially on July 27, 1897, at 
Montfort-l'Amaury (see Chapter III). M. de Fontenay 
having declared that he perceived an image or spirit over 
the table, between himself and me (we were sitting face to 
face, keeping watch over Eusapia, he holding one of her 
hands, and I the other), and I seeing nothing at all, I asked 
him to change places with me. And then I, too, perceived 
this spirit-shadow, the head of a bearded man, rather vaguely 
outlined, which was moving like a silhouette, advancing and 
retiring in front of a red lantern placed on a piece of fur- 
niture. I had not been able to see at first from where I sat, 
because the lantern was then behind me, and the spectral ap- 
pearance was formed between M. de Fontenay and me. As 
this dark silhouette remained rather vague, I asked if I could 
not touch its beard. The medium replied, " Stretch out 
your hand." I then felt upon the back of my hand the 
brushing of a very soft beard. 

This case did not have for me the same absolute certainty 
as the preceding. There are degrees in the feeling of se- 
curity we have in observations. In astronomy, even, there 
are stars at the limit of visibility. And yet in the opin- 
ion of all the participators in the seance there was no trick. 
Besides, on another occasion, at my own home, I saw an- 
other figure, that of a young girl, as the reader will iee in 
the third chapter. 

* See L'Inconnu, pp. 20-29. 


8. That same day, at Montfort, in the course of the con- 
versation, some one recalled the circumstance that tho 
"spirits" have sometimes impressed on paraffin or putty 
or clay the print of their head or of their hands, a thing 
that seems in the last degree absurd. But we bought some 
putty at a glazier's and fixed up in a wooden box a perfectly 
soft cake. At the end of the seance there was the imprint 
of a head, of a face, in this putty. In this case, no more 
than in the other, am I absolutely certain there was no 
trickery. We will speak of it farther on. 

Other manifestations will be noted in subsequent pages 
of this book. Stopping right here, for the present, at the 
special point of view of the proved existence of unknown 
forces, I will confine myself to the six preceding cases, re- 
garding them as incontestable, in the judgment of any man 
of good faith or of any observer. If I have considered these 
particular cases so early in the work, it is in response to 
readers of my works who have been begging me for a long 
time to give my personal observations. 

The simplest of these manifestations that of raps, for 
example is not a negligible asset. There is no doubt that 
it is one or another of the experimenters, or their dynamic 
rr-ultant, that raps in the table without knowing how. So, 
even if it should be a psychic entity unknown to the medi- 
ums, it evidently makes use of them, of their physiological 
properties. Such a fact is not without scientific interest. 
The denials of scepticism prove nothing, unless it be that 
the deniers themselves have not observed the phenomena. 

I have no other aim in this first chapter than to give a 
preliminary summary of the observed facts. 

I do not desire to put forth in these first pages any ex- 
planatory hypothesis. My readers will themselves form an 
opinion from the narratives that follow, and the last chapter 
of the volume will be devoted to theories. Yet I believe it 


will be useful to call attention at once to the fact that matter 
is not, in reality, what it appears to be to our vulgar senses, 
to our sense of touch, to our vision, but that it is identical 
with energy, and is only a manifestation of the movement of 
invisible and imponderable elements. The universe is a 
dynamism. Matter is only an appearance. It will be use- 
ful for the reader to bear this truth in mind, as it will help 
him to comprehend the studies we are about to make. 

The mysterious forces we are here studying are themselves 
manifestations of the universal dynamism with which our 
five senses put us very imperfectly into relation. 

These things belong to the psychical order as well as to the 
physical. They prove that we are living in the midst of an 
unexplored world, in which the psychic forces play a role 
as yet very imperfectly studied. 

We have here a situation analogous to that in which Chris- 
topher Columbus found himself on the evening of the day 
when he perceived the first hints of land in the New World. 
We are pushing our prow through an absolutely unknown 



One day in the month of November, 1861, under the Gale- 
riee de 1'Odeon,* I spied a book, the title of which struck 
me,- Le Livre de Esprit* ("The Book of Spirits")* by 
Allan Kardec. I bought it and read it with avidity, several 
chapters seeming to me to agree with the scientific bases of 
the book I was then writing, The Plurality of Inhabited 
Worlds. I hunted up the author, who proposed that I 
should enter, as a free associated member, the Parisian 
Society for Spiritualistic Studies, which he had founded, 
and of which he was president. I accepted, and by chance 
have just found the green ticket signed by him on the fif- 
teenth day of November, 1861. This is the date of my debut 
in psychic studies. I was then nineteen, and for three years 
had been an astronomical pupil at the Paris Observatory. 
At this time I was putting the last touches to the book I just 
mentioned, the first edition of which was published some 
months afterwards by the printer-publisher of the Observa- 

The members came together every Friday evening in tho 
assembly room of the society, in the little passageway of 
Sainte Anne, which was placed under the protection of 
Saint Louis. The president opened the stance by an " in- 
vocation to the good spirits." It was admitted, as a prin- 
ciple, that invisible spirits were present there and revealed 

Certain book-shop* in Paris. Trans. 


themselves. After this invocation a certain number of per- 
sons, seated at a large table, were besought to abandon them- 
selves to their inspiration and to write. They were called 
" writing mediums." Their dissertations were afterwards 
read before an attentive audience. There were no physical 
experiments of table-turning, or tables moving or speaking. 
The president, Allan Kardec, said he attached no value to 
such things It seemed to him that the instructions com- 
municated by the spirits ought to form the basis of a new 
doctrine, of a sort of religion. 

At the same period, but several years earlier, my illus- 
trious friend Victorien Sardou, who had been an occasional 
frequenter of the Observatory, had written, as a medium, 
some curious pages on the inhabitants of the planet Jupiter, 
and had produced picturesque and surprising designs, hav- 
ing as their aim to represent men and things as they ap- 
peared in this giant of worlds. /He designed the dwellings 
of people in Jupiter. One of his sketches showed us the 
house of Mozart, others the houses of Zoroaster and of Ber- 
nard Palissy, who were country neighbors in one of the land- 
scapes of this immense planet. The dwellings are ethereal 
and of an exquisite lightness. They may be judged of by the 
two figures here reproduced (PI. II and III). The first 
represents a residence of Zoroaster, the second " the animals' 
quarters " belonging to the same. On the grounds are flow- 
ers, hammocks, swings, flying creatures, and, below, intelli- 
gent animals playing a special kind of ninepins where the 
fun is not to knock down the pins, but to put a cap on them, 
as in the cup and ball toy, etc. 

These curious drawings prove indubitably that the sig- 
nature " Bernard Palissy, of Jupiter," is apocryphal and 
that the hand of Victorien Sardou was not directed by a 
spirit from that planet. Nor was it the gifted author him- 
self who planned these sketches and executed them in accord- 


ance with a definite plan. They were made while he was 
in the condition of mediumship. A person is not mag- 
netized, nor hypnotized, nor put to sleep in any way while 
in that state. But the brain is not ignorant of what is taking 
place: its cells perform their functions, and act (doubtless 
by a reflex movement) upon the motor nerves. At that time 
we all thought Jupiter was inhabited by a superior race of 
beings. The spiritistic communications were the reflex of 
the general ideas in the air. To-day, with our present knowl- 
edge of the planets, we should not imagine anything of the 
kind about that globe. And, moreover, spiritualistic seances 
have never taught us anything upon the subject of astronomy. 
I Such results as were attained fail utterly to prove the inter- 
! vention of spirits. Have the writing mediums given any 
more convincing proofs of it than these? This is what we 
shall have to examine in as impartial a way as we can. 

I myself tried to see if I, too, could not write. By col- 
lecting and concentrating my powers and allowing my hand 
to be passive and unresistant, I soon found that, after it had 
traced certain dashes, and o's, and sinuous lines more or 
less interlaced, very much as a four-year-old child learning 
to write might do, it finally did actually write words and 

In these meetings of the Parisian Society for Spiritual- 
istic Studies, I wrote for my part, some pages on astro- 
nomical subjects signed " Galileo." The communications 
remained in the possession of the society, and in 1867 Allan 
Kardec published them under the head General Uranography, 
in his work entitled Genesis. (I have preserved one of the 
first copies, with his dedication.) These astronomical pages 
taught me nothing. So I was not slow in concluding that 
they were only the echo of what I already knew, and that 
Galileo had no hand in them. When I wrote the pages, 


I was in a kind of waking dream. Besides, my hand stopped 
writing when I began to think of other subjects. 

I may quote here what I said on this subject in my work, 
The Worlds of Space (Les Terres du del), in the edition 
of 1884, p. 181: 

The writing medium is not put to sleep, nor is he mag- 
netized or hypnotized in any way. One is simply received 
into a circle of determinate ideas. The brain acts (by 
the mediation of the nervous system) a little differently 
from what it does in its normal state. The difference is not 
so great as one might suppose. The chief difference may be 
described as follows : 

In the normal state we think of what we are going to write 
before the act of writing begins. There is a direct action 
of the will in causing the pen, the hand, and the fore-arm to 
move over the paper. In the abnormal state, on the other 
hand, we do not think before writing; we do not move the 
hand, but let it remain inert, passive, free ; we place it upon 
the paper, taking care merely that it shall meet with the 
least possible resistance; we think of a word, a figure, a 
stroke of the pen, and the hand of its own volition begins 
to write. But the writing medium must think of what he 
is doing, not beforehand, but continuously; otherwise the 
hand stops. For example, try to write the word " ocean," 
not voluntarily (the ordinary way), but by simply taking a 
lead-pencil, and letting the hand rest lightly and freely upon 
the paper, while you think of your word and observe care- 
fully whether the hand will write. Very good; it does be- 
gin to move over the paper, writing first an o, then a c, and 
the rest. At least that was my experience when I was study- 
ing the new problems of spiritualism and magnetism. 

I have always thought that the circle of science is not a 
closed one, and that there are many things for us still to 
learn. In the mediumistic writing experiments it is very 
easy to deceive ourselves and to believe that the hand is under 
the influence of another mind than our own. The most 
probable conclusion regarding these experiences has been that 
the theory of the action of foreign spirits is not necessary 


for the explanation of such phenomena. But this is not the 
place to enter into details upon a subject which, up to the 
present time, has been only slightly examined by scientific 
criticism, having more often been exploited by speculators 
than studied by scientists. 

So I wrote in 1884 ; and I will indorse every word I then 
wrote, just as it stands. 

In these first experiences with Spiritualists, of which I 
have just been speaking, I soon had the entree of the chief 
Parisian circles devoted to these matters, and for a couple 
of years I even took the position of honorary secretary of one 
1 of them. A natural or necessary result of this was that I did 
not miss a single seance. 

Three different methods were employed to receive com- 
munications: (1) writing with the hand ; (2) the use of the 
planchette to which a lead-pencil was attached, and on which 
the hands were placed; and (3) table-rapping (or table-mov- 
ing), operated by the alphabetic code, these raps or the move- 
ments of the table marking the desired letter as the alphabet 
was read aloud by one of those present. 

The first of these methods was the only one employed at the 
Society for Spiritualistic Studies, of which Allan Kardec waa 
president. It was the one which permitted the margin for 
the most doubt In fact, at the end of two years of in- 
vestigations of this kind, which I had varied as much as 
possible, and which I had entered upon without any precon- 
ceived idea for or against, and with the most ardent desire 
to arrive at the truth, I came to the positive conclusion 
that not only are the signatures of these papers not authentic, 
but that the intervention of another mind from the spirit 
world is not proved at all, the fact being that we ourselves 
are the more or less conscious authors of the communica- 
tions by some cerebral process which yet remains to be in- 
vestigated. The explanation is not so simple as it seems, and 


there are certain reservations to be made in the general state- 
ment above. 

When writing in the exalted and abnormal state of mind 
of the medium, we do not, as I have just said, form our 
phrases as in the normal condition ; rather we wait for them 
to be produced. But all the same our own mind mingles 
in the process. The subject treated follows the lines of our 
own customary thoughts; the language employed is our na- 
tive tongue, and, if we are uncertain about the spelling of 
certain words, errors will appear. Furthermore, so inti- 
mately are our own mental processes mingled with what is 
being written that, if we allow our thoughts to wander to 
another topic, the hand either stops writing or produces in- 
coherent words and scrawls. This is the mental state of the 
writing medium, at least that which I have observed in 
myself. It is a kind of auto-suggestion. I hasten to add, 
however, that this opinion only binds me to the extent of 
my own personal experiences. I am assured that there are 
mediums who act in an absolutely mechanical way, knowing 
nothing of the nature of what they are writing (see further 
on, pp. 58, 59), who treat subjects of which they are ignorant, 
and also even write in foreign languages. Such cases would 
be different from that of which I have just been speaking, 
and would indicate either a special cerebral state or great 
keenness of intellect, or a source of ideas exterior to the 
medium; i.e., if it were once proved that our mind cannot 
divine that of which it is ignorant. But now the transfer- 
ence of thought from one brain to another, from one mind 
to another, is a fact proved by telepathy. We could con- 
ceive, then, that a medium might write under the influence 
of some one near by or even at a distance. Several me- 
diums have also composed (in successive seances) genuine ro- 
mances, such as The History of Joan of Arc, Written by 
Herself, or certain voyages to other planets, seeming to 


indicate that there is a kind of doubling of the personality of 
the subject, a secondary personality. But there is no au- 
thentication of this. There is also a psychic milieu, of which 
I shall speak farther on. At present I must concern myself 
only with the subject of this chapter, and say with !N T ewtoii, 
" Hypotheses non fingo." 

Allan Kardec died on the 30th of March, 1869, and, when 
the Society of Spiritualists came to ask me to deliver a 
funeral oration at his tomb, I took occasion, during this dis- 
course, to direct the attention of the Spiritualists to the 
scientific character of investigations of this class and to the 
manifest danger of allowing ourselves to be drawn into 

I will reproduce at this point a few paragraphs taken from 
this address: 

I wish I could impress upon you who hear me, as well as 
upon the millions of men throughout Europe and in the 
New World who are studying the still mysterious problem, of 
spiritualism, what a deep scientific interest and what a 
philosophic future there is in the study of these phenomena, 
to which, as you know, many of our most eminent living 
scholars have given their time and attention. I wish I could 
present to your imagination and theirs the new and vast 
horizons we shall see opening up before us in proportion as 
we broaden our scientific knowledge of the forces of nature 
at work around us; and I would that I could show both 
you and them that such conquests of the mind are the 
most efficacious antidote to the leprosy of atheism which 
seems to be particularly the malignant degenerative element 
in this our epoch of transition. 

What a salutary thing it would be could I but prove here, 
before this eloquent tomb, that the methodical examination 
of the phenomena erroneously called supernatural, far from 
calling back the spirit of superstition, and weakening the 
energy of the reason, serves, on the contrary, to banish the 
errors and illusions of ignorance, and assists the progress of 


truth much more than do the irrational negations of those 
who will not take the trouble to look at the facts. 

It is high time now that this complex subject of study 
should enter upon its scientific period. Enough stress has 
not been laid upon the physical side of the subject, which 
should be critically studied; for without rigid scientific ex- 
periment no proof is valid. This objective a priori method 
of investigation, to which we owe the glory of modern prog- 
ress and the marvels of electricity and steam, should take 
up the still unexplained and mysterious phenomena with 
which we are acquainted, to dissect them, measure them, and 
to define them. 

For, gentlemen, spiritualism is not a religion, but a sci- 
ence, a science of which we as yet scarcely know the a, b, c. 
The age of dogma is past. Nature includes the Universe; 
and God himself, who was in old times conceived of as a 
being of similar shape and form as man, cannot be considered 
by modern metaphysics as other than Mind in Nature. 

The supernatural does not exist. The manifestations ob- 
tained by the agency of mediums, such as those of magnetism 
and somnambulism, belong to the order of nature and ought 
to be inexorably submitted to the test of experiment. There 
are no more miracles. We are witnessing the dawning of a 
new science. Who is there so bold as to predict whither the 
scientific study of the new psychology will lead, and what the 
results will be? 

The limitations of human vision are such that the eye 
only sees things between narrow bounds, and beyond these 
limits, on this side and on that, it sees nothing. The body 
may be compared to a harp of two chords, the optic nerve 
and the auditory nerve. One kind of vibrations excites the 
first and another kind the second. That is the whole story 
of human sensation, which is even inferior to that of many 
of the lower animals; certain insects, for example, in whom 
the nerves of vision and of hearing are more delicate than 
in man. 

Now there are in nature, not two, but ten, a hundred, a 
thousand kinds of movement or vibration. We learn, then, 
from physical science, that we are living in the midst of a 


world invisible to us, and that it is not impossible that there 
may be living upon the earth a class of beings, also invisible 
to us, endowed with a wholly different kind of senses, so 
that there is no way by which they can make themselves 
known to us, unless they can manifest themselves in acts 
and ways that can come within the range of our own order 
of sensations. 

In the presence of such truths as these, which have as yet 
only been barely announced, how absurd and worthless seems 
mere blind denial ! When wt, tomparc the little that we know 
and the narrow limits of our range of perception with the 
vast extent of the field of knowledge, we can scarcely refrain 
from the conclusion that we know nothing and that every- 
thing yet remains to be known. With what right do we 
pronounce the word " impossible " in the presence of tacts 
which we prove to be genuine without yet being able to dis- 
cover their causes ? 

It is by the scientific study of effects that we arrive at 
tho determination of causes. In the class of investigations 
which we group under the general head " Spiritualism," 
FACTS EXIST. But no one understands the method of their 
production. Their existence, nevertheless, is just as true as 
tho phenomena of electricity. 

lint, as for understanding them why, gentlemen, no- 
body understands biology, physiology, psychology. What is 
the human body ? What is the brain ? What is the absolute 
action of the soul or mind ? We do not know. And, neither 
do we know anything whatever of the essence of electricity 
or the essence of light. It is prudent, then, to observe with 
unbiased judgment all such matters as these, and to try to 
determine their causes, which are perhaps of different kinds 
and more numerous than has ever been supposed up to the 
present time.* 

It will be seen that what I publicly uttered as I stood on 
the hillock above the grave into which Allan Kardec's coffin 

Oration delivered at the grave of Allan Kardec, by Camille Flam- 
luarion, Paris, Didier, 1869, pp. 4 17, 22. 


had just been lowered differs not at all from the purely 
scientific program of the present work. 

I have just said that there were three methods employed 
in our spiritistic experiments. I have given my opinion of 
the first (writing mediums), basing it on my personal obser- 
vations, and without desiring to weaken other proofs, if there 
are any. As to the second (planchette), I became familiar 
with it more especially by the seances of Mme. de Girardin, 
at the home of Victor Hugo in the Isle of Jersey. It works 
more independently than the first method ; but it is still only 
a prolongation, as it were, of the hand and the brain. The 
third method table-rapping, or typtology ; I mean taps in 
the table seems to me still more emphatically an extension 
of the hand and brain, and some forty-five years ago I often 
made use of this form of experiment. 

Eappings made on the floor by one foot of the table, as 
letters are spelled out, have no special value. The least 
pressure can produce these see-saw movements. The chief 
experimenter himself makes the responses, sometimes with- 
out suspecting it. 

Several persons group themselves about a table, place their 
hands upon it, and wait for something to happen. At the 
end of five, ten, fifteen, twenty minutes, the time depending 
on the psychic atmosphere * and the faculties of the experi- 
menters, raps are heard in the table, or the sitters help 
in the movements of the table, which seems possessed. Why 
choose a table? Because it is the only article of furniture 
around which folks usually sit. Sometimes the table is lifted 
on one or more of its feet and is gently rocked to and fro. 
Sometimes it comes up as if glued to the hands placed on it, 
remaining suspended in the air two, three, five, ten, twenty 

* The author means, of course, by this phrase (milieu ambiant), 
the totality of psycmc force present, the psychological atmosphere, the 
total mind-energy radiated by the several more or less sensitive or 
mediumistic members of the company. Trans. 


seconds. Again, it is nailed to the floor with such force that 
it seems to have double or triple its usual weight. At other 
times, and usually on demand, it gives forth the sound of 
a saw, of a hatchet, of a lead-pencil writing, etc. We 
have here material results coming under direct observation, 
and they prove irrefragably the existence of an unknown 

This force is a material force in the psychic class. If 
we confined our attention to blind senseless movements of one 
kind or another, in relation only with the volitions of the 
experimenters, and not capable of being explained by the 
mere imposition of their hands, we might see proof of the ex- 
istence of a new unknown force, explicable as a transforma- 
tion of nervous force, of organic electricity ; and that would 
be much in itself. But the raps made in the table, or by the 
feet of it, are made in reply to questions asked. Since we 
know the table is only a piece of wood, when we ask it ques- 
tions, we are really addressing some mental agent who hears 
and replies. It was in this class of phenomena that modern 
Spiritualism took its rise; namely, in the United States, in 
1848, when the Fox sisters heard sounds in their chamber, 
raps in the walls and in the furniture. Their father, after 
several months of vexatious investigation, finally had recourse 
to the traditional theory of ghosts, and, addressing his 
questions to the wall, demanded some kind of an explana- 
tion from the invisible thing therein. This thing responded 
by conventional taps to the questions asked, and declared 
that it was the spirit of the former proprietor once as- 
sassinated in this his very home. The spirit asked for 
prayers and the burial of its body. (From this time on the 
replies were so arranged that one rap in response to a question 
signified yes, two meant no, while three meant an emphatic 

I hasten to remark at once that the tapped replies prove 


nothing, and could have been made unconsciously by the Fox 
sisters themselves, whom we can not consider to have been 
playing a little comedy since the raps produced by them in 
the walls astounded and overwhelmed them more, indeed, 
than they did any one else. The hypothesis of jugglery and 
mystification, dear to certain critics, has not the least appli- 
cation to this case, although I admit that rappings and move- 
ments are often produced as practical jokes by waggish per- 

There is, of course, an unseen cause that originates these 
rappings. Is it within us or outside of us ? Is it possible 
that we might be capable of doubling our personality in 
some way without knowing it, of acting by mental sugges- 
tion, of answering our own questions without suspecting it, 
of producing material results without being conscious of it? 
Or does there exist, around and about us, an intelligent me- 
dium or atmosphere, a kind of spiritual cosmos ? Or, again, 
is it possible that we are surrounded by invisible non-human 
beings, gnomes, spirits, and hobgoblins (there may be an 
unknown world about us) ? Or, finally, is it possible that the 
spirits of the dead may survive, and wander to and fro, and 
hold communication with us ? All these hypotheses present 
themselves to our minds, nor have we the scientific absolute 
right to reject any one of them. 

The lifting of a table, the displacement of an object, may 
be attributed to an unknown force developed by our nervous 
system or otherwise. At least these movements do not prove 
the existence of a mind extraneous to that of the subject. 
But when some one is naming the letters of the alphabet or 
pointing them out on a sheet of pasteboard, and the table, 
either by raps in the wood or by levitations, puts together 
an intelligible sentence, we are forced to attribute this in- 
telligent effect to an intelligent cause., This cause may be 
the medium himself; and the simplest way is, evidently, to 


suppose that he himself raps out the letters. But experi- 
ments can be arranged in such a way that he cannot possibly 
do this, even unconsciously. Our first duty is, in reality, 
to make fraud impossible. 

Those who have sufficiently studied the subject know that 
fraud does not explain what they have observed. To be sure, 
in fashionable Spiritualistic soirees people sometimes amuse 
themselves. Especially when the seances take place in the 
dark, and the alternation of the sexes is provided for so aa 
to " reinforce the fluids," it is not altogether an unheard of 
thing for the gentlemen to profit by the temptation to tem- 
porarily forget the object of the meeting and break the es- 
tablished chain of hands in order to begin another on their 
own account. The ladies and the young girls like these 
changes in the program, and scarcely a complaint is heard. 
On the other hand, apart from fashionable soirees, to which 
everybody is invited for their amusement, the more serious 
reunions are frequently no safer; for the medium, who is, 
in one way or another, an interested person, is anxious to 
give the most he can and something to boot. 

Upon the leaf of an old note-book of mine which has just 
turned up, I classed Spiritualistic soirees in the following 
order, which is doubtless a slightly original one : 

1. Amorous caresses. (A similar reproach was made 
against the ancient Christian love-feasts or agapes.) 

2. Charlatanry of mediums, abusing the credulity of the 

3. Some serious inquirers. 

At the time of which I was just now speaking (1861- 
63) I took part, as secretary, in experiments conducted regu- 
larly once a week, in the salon of a well-known medium, 
Mile. Huet, of Mont-Thabor Street. Mediumship was, in a 
way, her trade, and she had more than once been flagrantly 
detected in some most remarkable trickery. Accordingly, it 


may be imagined that she would quite often give the raps 
herself by hitting the table-legs with her feet. But quite 
often we also obtained noises of sawing, of planing, of drum- 
beating, and torrents of rain, which it would have been im- 
possible for her to imitate. Neither could the holding fast 
of the table to the floor be the work of fraud. As to the 
levitations of the table, I said awhile ago that, when one of us 
showed an inclination to resist with his hand the upward 
movement, he received an impression as if the table were 
floating on a fluid. Now it is hard to see how the medium 
could produce this result. Everything took place in broad 

The communications received at the very many seances 
(several hundred) at which I have been present, both at that J> 
time and since, have always shown me that the results were 
in direct ratio with the cultivation of mind of the partici- 
pants. I naturally asked a great many questions on as- 
tronomy. The replies never taught us anything new what- 
ever; and, to be perfectly loyal to the truth, I must say 
that if, in these experiments, there are spirits, or beings 
independent of us in action, they know no more than we do 
about the other worlds. 

A distinguished poet, P. F. Mathieu, was usually present 
at the reunions at the Mont-Thabor salon, and hence we some- 
times obtained very pretty bits of verse, which I am sure 
he did not himself consciously produce; for, like all of us, 
he was there to learn. M. Joubert, vice-president of the 
civil tribunal of Carcassonne, has published a work, entitled 
Various Fables and Poems, by a Spirit-rapper, which bears 
on its face evidence that it is but the reflex of his customary 
thoughts. We had Christian philosophers with us at our re- "~\ 
unions. Accordingly, the table dictated to us fine thoughts 
signed "Pascal," " Fenelon," " .Vincent de Paul," and 


" Sainte Therese. One spirit, who signed himself " Bal- 
thasar Grimod de la Reyniere," dictated funny dissertations 
on the art of cooking. His specialty was to make the heavy 
table dance about in all kinds of contortions. Rabelais some- 
times appeared, still loving the perfumes of savory viands 
as of old. Some of the spirits took pleasure in making tours 
de force in cryptology (secret writing). The following are 
specimens of these table-rapping communications. The first 
is from the vulgate version of the Bible, the Gospel of John 
ill 8: 

" Spiritus ubi vult spirat ; et vocem ejus audis, sed nescis 
unde veniat aut quo vadat. Sic est omnis qui natus est ex 
spiritu." (" The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou 
hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, 
and whither it goeth. So is every one that is born of tho 

" Dear little sister, I am here, and see that you are as good 
as ever. You are a medium. I will go to you with great 
happiness. Tell my mother her dear daughter loves her from 
this world.* LOUISA." 

Some one asked one of the spirits if he could indicate by 
taps the words engraved inside of her ring. The response 

" I love that one should love me as I love when I love," 

A member of the company suspected that the table around 
which we were sitting might conceal a piece of mechanism 
for producing the raps. Accordingly, one of the sentences 
was dictated by raps made in the air. 

Here is another series: 

" Je suis ung ioyeux compaignon qui vous esmarveilleray 
avecques mes discours, je ne suis pas ung Esperict mateolo- 
* This communication is given in English by the author. Trant. 


gien, je vestiray non liripipion et je diray: Beuvez 1'eaue 
de la cave, poy plus, poy moins, serez content. 


("I am a jollie blade who will astonie you by my speech. 
I am not a vaine-babbling sperit. I will wear my graduate's 
hood and saie: Drinke ye water of ye cellar [wine], no 
more, no less. Be content. 


A rather lively discussion arose upon the subject of this 
unexpected visit, and of the language, which some erudite 
persons present thought not to be pure Rabelaisian. Where- 
upon the table rapped: 

" Eons enfants estes de vous esgousiller a ceste besterie. 
Mieux vault que beuviez froid que parliez chaud." 


(" Ye're regular babies to bawle yourselves hoarse over this 
selynesse. It is bettaire to drinke cauld than to speak 
warme. ) 

" Liesse et Noel ! Monsieur Satan est defun, et de male 
mort. Bien marrys sont les moynes, moynillons, bigotz et 
cagotz, carmes chaulx et dechaulx, papelards et frocards, 
mitrez et encapuchonnez : les vecy sans couraige, les Esperictz 
les ont destrosnez. Plus ne serez roustiz et eschaubouillez 
ez marmites monachales et roustissoires diaboliques ; foin de 
ces billevesees papales et clericquales. Dieu est bon, iuste et 
plein de miserichorde ; il diet a ses petits enfancts: aimez- 
vous les ungs les autres et il pardoint a la repentance. Le 
grand dyable d'enfer est mort ; vive Dieu ! " 

(" Hurrah for a merry life ! Maister Satan is dead, dead 
a door-nail. The monks and the poor-devil friars are 
mrried, bigots and fanatics, Carmelites shod and unshod, 

* Aleofribaz Nazier is well known as Rabelais' anagram, formed 
rom his own name. It was the signature under which he published 
lis Pantagruel. Trans. 


the hypocrites and the cowled fellows, the mitres and tin' 
hoods. There they stand trembling in their tracks; the 
Spirits have dethroned thmi. Gone are the roastings and 
soup-makings in the Devil's Dutch ovens and in monastic 
kettles. A plague of these trashy tales of pope and priest! 
God is good, just, and full of pity. He says to his little chil- 
dren, ' Love one another ' ; and he pardons the repentant. 
The great devil in hell is dead. Hurrah for God ! ") 

Here is still another series: 

" Suov ruop er&tsym nu sruojuot tnores emem srueisulp ; 

erdnerpmoc ed simrep erocne sap tse suov en li uq snoitseuq 

Bed ridnoforppa ruop tirpse'l sap retnemruot suov en. Lies- 

noc nob nu zevius." 

" Suov imrap enger en edrocsid ed tirpse'l siamaj euq." 
" Arevele suov ueid te gcrerf sov imrap sreinred sel 

zeyos ; evele ares essiaba's iuq iulec ' essiaba ares evele's iuq 


These sentences must be read backwards, beginning at the 
end. Some one asked, " Why have you dictated thus ? " 
The reply was: 

" In order to give you new and unexpected proofs." 

Head backwards, these Russian-like sentences are as fol- 

" Celui qui s'elfeve sera abaisse, celui qui s'abaisse sera 
Sieve"; soyez les derniers parmi vos frfcres et Dieu vous 

" Que jamais 1'esprit de discorde ne regne parmi vous." 

" Suivez un bon conseil. Ne vous tourmenter pas 1'esprit 
pour approfondir des questions qu'il ne vous est pas encore 
permis de comprendre; plusieurs meme seront toujours un 
mystere pour vous." 

(" Whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased ; and he that 
humbleth himself shall be exalted! Be the least among 
your brethren, and God will exalt you." 


" Never let the spirit of discord reign among you." 
" Follow good counsel. Do not torment your mind in 
attempting to fathom questions that it is not yet permitted 
you to comprehend : several of these will always be a mystery 
to you.") 

Here is another of a different kind : 

" Acmairsvnoouussevtoeussbaoinmsoentsfbiideenlteosuss. 
" Sloeysepzruintissaeinndtieetuesnudrrvaosuessmaairlises." 

I asked the meaning of this bizarre and portentous con- 
glomeration of letters. The reply was : 

" To conquer your doubts, read by skipping every other 

This arrangement using the skipped letters in their turn 
for the second and fourth lines gives the four following 
verses : 

" Amis, nous vous aimons bien tous, 
Car vous etes bons et fideles. 
Soyez unis en Dieu : sur vous 
L'Esprit-Saint etendra ses ailes." 

(" Friends, we love you all, 

For you are good and faithful. 

Be united in God : over you 

The Holy Spirit will spread his wings.") 

This is innocent enough, ' surely and without any great 
poetic pretensions. But it must be admitted that this method 
of dictating is rather difficult.* 

* A piece of typtological dictation of the same kind has been re- 
cently sent to me. Here it is: 




Read successively, from top to bottom, one letter of each line, begin- 
ning on the leftj and the sense will appear as follows: " Je suis trop 
fatigue pour les obtenir." ("I am too tired to obtain them.") 


Some one spoke of human plans. The table dictated as 
follows : * 

" When the shining sun scatters the stars, know ye, O 
mortal men, whether ye will see the evening of that day? 
And, when the sombre curtains of night are lot fall from the 
sky, can you tell whether you will see the dawn of another 
morn I " 

Another person asked, " What is faith ? " 

" Faith 1 'Tis a blessed field that breeds a su]>orb harvest, 
and every laborer may therein reap and garner to his heart's 
content, and carry home his sheaves." 

Here are three prose dictations : 

" Science is a forest where some are laying out roads, 
where many lose their way, and where all see the bounds 
of the forest recede as fast as they go forward." 

" God docs not illuminate the world with the lightning and 
the meteors. He guides peacefully in their courses the stars 
of the night, which fill the sky with their light. So the 
divine revelations succeed one another in order, reason, and 

" Religion and Friendship are twin companions, who aid 
us to traverse the painful path of life." 

I cannot forego the pleasure of inserting here, at the close 
of this chapter, a fable, dictated like the others by table- 
rappings, and sent to me by M. Joubert, vice-president of the 
civil tribunal of Carcassonne, t The sentiment of it may bo 
queried by some; but is not the central principle applicable 
to all epochs and to all governments : Do not the " arri- 
vistes " \ belong to all times I 

This and the next dictation are rhymed verse in the original 
French. Trans. 

t In rhymed verse* in the original. Trant. 

t A word of recent origin, meaning ambitioua or pretentious people 
who want " to arrive," the iconld-bc'*. The word forms the title of a 
recent French novel, V Arriviste, and (translated) of an English one 
called The Climber. Tram. 



A king who had profaned the public liberties, who for 
twenty years had slaked his thirst in the blood of heretics; 
awaiting the quiet peace of the hangman in his declining 
days ; decrepit, surfeited with adulterous amours ; this king, 
this haughty monster of whom they had made a great man, 
Louis the Fourteenth, in short, if I must name him, was 
one day airing under the leafy arches of his vast gardens his 
Scarron, his infamy and his troubles. The noble band of 
court flunkeys came along. Each one at once lost at least 
six inches of his height. Pages, counts, marquises, dukes, 
princes, marshals, ministers, bowed low before insulting 
rivals, the creatures of the king. Grave magistrates made 
their deep reverences, each humbler than a suitor asking for 
audience. 'Twas pleasant to see how the ribbons, crosses 
and decorations on their embroidered coats went ever back- 
wards. Always and always that ignoble bowing and scrap- 
ing and cringing. I should like to wake up some morning 
an emperor, that I might sting with my whip the backbone 
of a flatterer. But see! alone, confronting the despot, yet 
without abasing his head, forging along with slow steps on 
his own way, modest, clad in coarse homespun garments, 
comes one who seems a peasant, perhaps a philosopher, and 
passes by the groups of insolent courtiers. " Oh," cries the 
king, in great surprise, " why do you alone confront me with- 
out bending the knee ? " " Sire," said the unknown, " must 
I be frank ? It is because I alone here expect nothing from 


If we stop to think how these sentences and phrases 
and different bits of literature were produced, letter by let- 
ter, rap by rap, following the alphabet as it was read out, we 
shall appreciate the difficulty of the thing. The rappings are 
made either in the interior of the wood of the table (the 
vibrations of which are perceptible) or in some other piece 
of furniture, or even in the air. The table, as I have already 
said, is alive, pregnant with a kind of momentary vitality. 
Melodies of well-known airs, sounds of sawing and of the 


workshop, and the report of fusillades can be drawn from 
it Sometimes it becomes so light that it floats for a mo- 
ment in the air, then so heavy that two men can scarcely 
lift it from the floor or budge it in any way. You must 
have a distinct picture in your mind of all these manifesta- 
tions, often puerile, no doubt, sometimes vulgar and gro- 
tesque, yet striking in their method of operation, if you 
would accurately understand the phenomena, and realize that 
you are in the presence of an unknown element which jug- 
glery and prestidigitation cannot explain. 

Some folks can move their toes separately and crack the 
joints. If we should grant that the dictations, by combina- 
tions of letters (quoted above), wen- arramirtl in advance, 
learned by heart, and thus rapped, the matter would be simple 
enough. But this particular faculty is very rare, and it 
does not explain the noises in the table, the vibrations of 
which are felt by the hands. Again, one could fancy the 
medium tapping the table-legs with his foot, and thus con- 
structing such sentences as he pleases. But it would require 
a wonderful memory in the medium to enable him to remem- 
ber the precise arrangement of letters (for he has no memo- 
randum before him), and, further, these curious dictations 
have been secured just the same in select companies where 
no one would cheat. 

As to the theory that the spirits of eminent men are in 
communication with the experimenters the mere statement 
of the hypothesis shows its absurdity. Imagine a table-rap- 
per calling up from the vasty deep the spirits of Paul or 
Saint Augustine, Archimedes or Newton, Pythagoras or 
Copernicus, Leonardo da Vinci or William Herschel, and 
receiving their dictations from the interior of a table ! 

We were speaking, a few pages back, of the seance draw- 
ings and descriptions of Jupiter made by Victorien Sardou. 
This is the proper place to insert a letter written by him 


to M. Jules Claretie, and published by the latter in Le Temps 
at the date when that learned Academician was putting on the 
boards his drama Spiritisme. The letter is here appended: 

. . . As to Spiritualism, I could better tell you ver- 
bally in three words what I think of it than I could write 
here in three pages. You are half right and half wrong. 
Pardon my freedom of speech. There are two things in 
Spiritualism, (1) curious facts, inexplicable in the present 
state of our knowledge, and yet authenticated; and (2) the 
folks who explain them. 

The facts are real. Those who explain them belong to 
three categories: there are, first, Spiritualists who are im- 
becile, ignorant, or mad, the chaps who call up Epaminondas 
and whom you justly make fun of, or who believe in the 
intervention of the devil; those, in short, who end in the 
lunatic asylum in Charenton. 

Secundo, there are the charlatans, commencing with 
D. ; impostors of all sorts, prophets, consulting mediums, 
such as A. K., and tutti quanti. 

Finally, there are the scholars and scientists, who think 
they can explain everything by juggleries, hallucination, and 
unconscious movements, men like Chevreul and Faraday, 
who, while they are right about some of the phenomena de- 
scribed to them, and which really are jugglery or hallucina- 
tion, are yet wrong about the whole series of original facts, 
which they will not take the trouble to look at, though they 
are highly important. These men are much to blame; for, 
by their plea-in-bar against earnest investigators (such as 
Gasparin, for example) and by their insufficient explana- 
tions, they have left Spiritualism to be exploited by charla- 
tans of all kinds, and at the same time authorized serious 
amateurs to no longer waste their time over these studies. 

Last of all, there are observers like myself (there are not 
many of us) who are incredulous by nature, but who have 
been obliged to admit, in the long run, that Spiritualism con- 
cerns itself with facts which defy any present scientific ex- 
plication, but who do not despair of seeing them explained 
some day, and who therefore apply themselves to the study 
of the facts, and are trying to reduce them to some kind of 


classification which may later prove to be law. We of this 
persuasion hold ourselves aloof from every coterie, from 
every clique, from all the prophets, and, satisfied with the 
convictions to which we have already attained, are content 
to see in Spiritualism the dawn of a truth, as yet very ob- 
scure, which will some day find its Ampere, as did the mag- 
netic currents, and who grieve to see this truth choked out of 
existence by a dual foe, excess of credulous ignorance 
which believes everything and excess of incredulous science 
which believes nothing. 

We find in our conviction and our conscience the where- 
withal to brave the petty martyrdom of ridicule inflicted 
upon us for the faith we profess, a faith exaggerated and 
caricatured by the mass of follies people never fail to attrib- 
ute to us, nor do we deem that the myth in which they dress 
us up merits even the honor of a refutation. 

Similarly, I have never had any desire to prove to any- 
body whatever that the influence of either Moliere or Beau- 
marchais cannot be detected in my plays. It seems to me 
that that is more than evident. 

Respecting the dwellings of the planet Jupiter, I must 
ask the good folks who suppose that I am convinced of the 
real existence of these things whether they are well per- 
suaded that Gulliver believed in " Lilliput," * Campanella 
in the " City of the Sun," and Sir Thomas More in his 
" Utopia." 

What is true, however, is that the design of which you 
speak [PI. III.] was made in less than ten hours. As to its 
origin, I would not give a penny to know about that ; but the 
fact of its production is another matter 


Scarcely a year passes that mediums do not bring me draw- 
ings of plants and animals in the Moon, in Mars, Venus, 
Jupiter, or certain of the stars. These designs are more or 
less pretty, and more or less curious. But there is nothing in 

So in the original. Possibly M. Sardou was under the mistaken 
impression that Gulliver was a nom-de-plume for Dean Swift. Trans. 


them that leads us to admit their actual resemblance to real 
things in other worlds. On the contrary, everything proves 
that they are the products of imagination, essentially terres- 
trial, both in look and shape, not even tallying what we 
know to be the vital possibilities of those worlds. The de- 
signers of them are the dupes of illusion. These plants and 
animal are metamorphoses (sometimes elegantly conceived 
and drawn) of terrestrial organisms. Perhaps the most curi- 
ous thing of all is that they have a family resemblance in the 
manner of their execution, and have stamped on them, in 
some way or other, the mediumistic hall-mark. 

To return to my own experiences. When I took the role 
of writing-medium, I generally produced astronomical or 
philosophical dissertations signed " Galileo." I will quote 
but one of them as a sample. It is taken from my note- 
books of 1862. 


The human intellect holds in its powerful grasp the in- 
finite universe of space and time ; it has penetrated the inac- 
cessible domain of the Past, sounded the mystery of the 
unfathomable heavens, and believes that it has explained the 
riddle of the universe. The objective world has unrolled 
before the eyes of science its splendid panorama and its mag- 
nificent wealth of forms. The studies of man have led him 
to a knowledge of truth; he has explored the universe, dis- 
covered the inexorable reign of law, and the application of 
the forces that sustain all things. If it has not been per- 
mitted to him to see the Eirst Cause face to face, at least 
he has attained a true mathematical idea of the series of 
secondary causes. 

In this latest century, above all, the experimental a priori 
method, the only really scientific one, has been put into prac- 
tice in the natural sciences, and by its aid man has freed 
himself from the prejudices of the old school of thought, one 
by one, and from subjective or speculative theories, and con- 
fined himself to a careful and intelligent study of the field 
of observation. 


Yes, human science is firmly based and pregnant with 
possibility, worthy of our homage for its difficult and long- 
proved past, worthy of our sympathy for its future, big with 
the promise of useful and profitable discoveries. For na- 
ture is henceforth to be a book accessible to the bibliographical 
researches of the studious, a world open to the investigations 
of the thinker, a fertile region which the human mind has 
already visited, and in which we must needs advance boldly, 
holding in our hand experience as our compass. . . . 

An old friend of my terrestrial life recently spoke to 
me as follows. One of our wanderings hnd brought us back 
to the Earth, and we were making a new moral study of this 
world. My companion remarked that man is to-day familiar 
with the most abstract laws of mechanics, physics, chemis- 
try, . that the applications of knowledge to industry 
are not less remarkable than the deductions of pure science, 
and that it seems as if the entire universe, wisely studied 
by man, was to be his royal appanage. As we pursued our 
journey beyond the bounds of this world, I answered him 
in the following terms: 

"A feeble atom, lost to sight in an imperceptible point 
of the infinite, man has believed he could embrace in the 
sweep of his vision the whole expanse of the universe, where- 
as he can scarcely pass beyond the region he inhabits; he 
has thought he could study the laws of all nature, and his 
investigations have scarcely reached the forces in action 
about him; he has thought he could determine the grandeur 
of the starry heaven, and he exhausted his powers in the 
study of a grain of dust. The field of his researches is so 
small that, once lost to view, the mind seeks in vain to re- 
cover it; the human heaven and earth are so small that 
scarcely has the soul in its flight had time to spread its wings 
before it has reached the last regions accessible to the obser- 
vation of man ; for the immeasurable Universe surrounds us 
on all sides, unfolding beyond the limits of our heavens its 
unknown riches, putting its inconceivable forces into play, 
and reaching forward into immensity in the splendor of its 

" And the mere flesh-worm, the miserable mite, blind and 
wingless, whose wretched existence is passed upon the leaf 


where it was born, would presume (because forsooth it has 
taken a few steps upon this leaf shaken in the wind) to have 
the right to speak of the immense tree to which it belongs, of 
the forest of which this tree forms a part, and to sagely 
descant upon the nature of the vegetation developed thereon, 
of the beings that inhabit it, of the distant sun whose rays 
bring to it movement and life? In very truth, man is 
strangely presumptuous to desire to measure infinite great- 
ness by the foot-rule of his infinite littleness. 

" Therefore be this truth well impressed on his mind, 
if the arid labors of past ages have acquired for him an ele- 
mentary knowledge of things, if the progress of thought has 
placed him at the vestibule of knowledge, still he has not 
yet spelled out more than the first page of the Book, and, 
like a child, liable to be deceived by every word, far from 
claiming the right to authoritatively interpret the work, he 
ought to content himself with humbly studying it, page by 
page, line by line. Happy, however, those who are able to 
do this!" 


These were my customary thoughts. They are the 
thoughts of a student of nineteen or twenty who has acquired 
the habit of thinking. There can be no doubt that they were 
wholly the product of my own intellect, and that the illus- 
trious Florentine astronomer had nothing whatever to do 
with them. Besides, this would have been a collaboration to 
the last degree improbable. 

It has been the same with all the communications of the 
astronomical class: they have not led the science forward a 
single step. Nor has any obscure, mysterious, or illusive 
point in history been cleared up by the spirits. We only 
write that which we know, and even chance has given us 
nothing. Still, certain unexplained thought-transferences 
are to be discussed. But they belong to the psychological or 
human sphere. 

In order to reply at once to objections that certain Spirit- 


ualists have sent to me apropos of this result of my observa- 
tions, I will take as an example the case of the satellites 
of Uranus, since it is the chief one always brought forward 
as a proof of scientific discoveries imparted by spirits. Fur- 
thermore, I received several years ago from divers sources 
a pressing invitation to examine an article by General Dray- 
son, published in the journal named Light, in 1884, under 
the title of The Solution of Scientific Problems by Spirits, 
in which it is asserted that the spirits made known the true 
orbital movement of the satellites of Uranus. Pressing en- 
gagements had always hindered me from making this exami- 
nation; but the case having been recently promulgated in 
several Spiritualistic works as decisive, and I being so per- 
sistently importuned to discuss it, I believe it will prove of 
some use if I now examine the case. 

To my great regret there is an error in their communica- 
tion, and the spirits have taught us nothing. Here is one 
instance, wrongly selected as a demonstration. The Russian 
writer Aksakof sets it forth in the following terms (Animism 
and Spiritualism, p. 341) : 

The case of which we are about to give an account seems to 
be of such a nature as to settle all objections. It was com- 
municated by Major-General A. W. Drayson and published 
under the title The Solution of Scientific Problems by 
Spirits. I append a translation : 

" Having received from M. Georges Stock a letter asking 
me if I could mention, were it only as an instance, that, dur- 
ing the holding of a seance, a spirit had solved one of those 
scientific problems which have always embarrassed scientists, 
I have the honor to communicate to you the following cir- 
cumstance, which I witnessed with my own eyes : 

" In 1781 William Herschel discovered the planet Uranus 
and its satellites. He observed that these satellites, contrary 
to all the other satellites of the solar system, traversed their 
orbits from east to west. Sir John Herschel says in his 
Outlines of Astronomy: 


" l The orbits of these satellites present peculiarities alto- 
gether unexpected and exceptional, contrary to the general 
laws which govern the other bodies of the solar system. The 
planes of their orbits are almost perpendicular to the ecliptic, 
making an angle of 70 58',* and they travel with a retro- 
grade movement; that is to say, their revolution about the 
centre of their planet takes place from east to west in place 
of following the inverse course.' 

" When Laplace broached his theory that the sun and all 
the planets were formed at the expense of a nebulous matter, 
these satellites were an enigma to him. 

" Admiral Smyth mentions in his Celestial Cycle that the 
movement of these satellites, to the stupefaction of all as- 
tronomers, is retrograde, contrary to that of all the other 
bodies observed up to that time. 

" All the astronomical works published before 1860 con- 
tain the same reasoning on the subject of the satellites of 
Uranus. For my part, I did not find any explanation for 
this peculiarity : to me it was a mystery as much as for the 
writers whom I have cited. 

" In 1858 I had as a guest in my house a lady who was a 
medium, and we arranged daily seances. One evening she 
said to me that she saw at my side a spirit who claimed to 
have been an astronomer during his life on earth. 

" I asked this person if he was wiser at present than when 
he lived on the earth. * Much wiser/ he said. I had the 
idea of asking this so-called spirit a question the object of 
which was to test his knowledge. ' Can you tell me/ I 
asked him, -' why the satellites of Uranus make their revo- 
lution from east to west and not from west to east ? ' I 
received at once the following reply : 

" ' The satellites of Uranus do not move in their orbits 
from east to west : they circle about their planet from west to 
east, in the same way that the moon moves around the earth. 
The error comes from the fact that the south pole of Uranus 
was turned toward the earth at the moment of the discovery 
of this planet. In the same way that the sun, seen from our 
southern hemisphere, seems to run its daily course from right 

* This inclination is really 82, reckoning from the south, or 98 
(90 + 8), counting from the north (see Fig. A). 


to left and not from left to right, so the satellites of Uranus 
were moving at that time from left to right, though this docs 
not mean they were moving in their orbit from east to west.' 

" In reply to another question which I asked, my inter- 
locutor added : * As long as the south pole of Uranus was 
turned toward the earth, in relation to a terrestrial observer, 
the satellites seemed to move from left to right, and it was 
erroneously concluded from this that they were going from 
east to west: this state of things lasted for about forty-two 
years. When the north pole of Uranus is turned toward the 
earth, his satellites run their course from right to left, but, 
in either case, always from the west to the east.' 

" I thereupon asked him how it happened that the error 
had not been detected forty-two years after William Herschel's 
discovery of Uranus. He replied, * It is because people 
repeat that which the authorities who have preceded them 
have said. Dazzled by the results obtained by their prede- 
cessors, they do not take the trouble to think.' ' 

Such is the " revelation " of a spirit on the system of 
Uranus, published by Drayson and presented by Aksakof and 
other authors as an undeniable proof of the intervention of a 
spirit in the solution of this problem. 

The following is the result of an impartial discussion of 
this very interesting subject. The reasoning of the " spirit " 
is false. The system of Uranus is almost perpendicular to 
the plane of its orbit It is the direct opposite of that of the 
satellites of Jupiter, which turn almost in the plane of their 
orbit. The inclination of the plane of the satellites to the 
ecliptic is 98, and the planet ascends almost in the plane 
of the ecliptic. This is a fundamental consideration in the' 
picture which we ought to make to ourselves of the aspect 
of this system seen from the earth. 

Let us, however, adopt for the method of movement of 
these satellites around their planet the projection upon the 
plane of the ecliptic, as has always been the custom. The 
author maintains that, " when the north pole of Uranus is 
turned toward the earth, his satellites run their course from 


right to left, that is to say from west to east " ; he indorses 
the communication of the spirit to the efl'ect that the as- 
tronomers are in error and that the satellites of Uranus 
really revolve around their planet from west to east, in the 
same way that the moon revolves around the earth. 

In order to give ourselves an exact account of the position 
and of the method of the movements of this system, let us 
construct a special geometrical figure, clear and precise. Let 
us represent upon a plane the appearance of the orbit of 
Uranus and of its satellites seen from the northern hemis- 
phere of the celestial sphere (Fig. A). The part of the 
orbit of the satellites above the plane of the- orbit of Uranus 
has been drawn with heavy lines and hatching, the lower 
part in dotted lines only. 

It is easily seen by the direction of the arrows that the 
revolution of the satellites, projected upon the plane of the 
orbit, is entirely retrograde. All dogmatic affirmations to 
the contrary are absolutely erroneous. 

These satellites turn like the hands of a watch, from 
left to right, looking at the upper part of the circles. 

The error of General Drayson's medium comes from the 
fact that she maintained that the south pole of Uranus was 
turned toward us at the date of its discovery. Now, in 
1781, the system of Uranus occupied relatively to us almost 
the same situation as in 1862, since the time of its revolu- 
tion is eighty-four years. It is evident from the figure 
that, at that moment, the planet presented to us the pole 
most elevated above the ecliptic ; that is, its north pole. 

General Drayson allowed himself to be led into error when 
he adopted without verification these paradoxical premises. 
As a matter of fact, if Uranus had presented to us its south 
pole in 1781, the movement of the satellites would have been 
direct. But the observations of the angle of position of the 
orbits at the time of their passage of the nodes gives us 


abundant evidence tbat it was really the north pole which 
was at that moment turned toward the sun and the earth, 
a fact which renders direct movement impossible, retro- 
grade movement certain. 

Fig. 1. The inclination of the system of Uranus. Aspects seen 
from the earth at the four extreme positions. 

For greater clearness, I have placed outside of the orbit, 
in Fig 1, the aspect of the system of Uranus seen from 
the earth at the four principal epochs of the revolution of 
this distant planet. It is evident that the apparent method 
of the revolution was analogous to that of the hands of a 


watch in 1781 and 1862, the opposite in 1818 and 1902. 
At these dates the apparent orbits of the satellites are al- 
most circles, while during the passage of the nodes, in 1798, 
1840, and 1882, they are reduced to straight lines. 

Figure la completes these data by presenting the aspect 
of the orbits and the method of revolution for all the posi- 
tions of the planet, even down to our own epoch. 

I have desired to completely elucidate this question, 
which is a little technical. To my great regret, the spirits 
have taught us nothing, and this example, to which so much 
importance is attached, is seen to be an error.* 

Aksakof cites, in this same chapter (p. 343), the dis- 
covery of the two satellites of Mars, also made by Drayson 
through a medium, in 1859 ; that is to say, 18 years before 
their discovery, in 1877. This discovery, not having been 
published at the time, remains doubtful. Furthermore, 
after Kepler had pointed out its probability, this subject of 
the two satellites of Mars was several times discussed, nota- 
bly by Swift and Voltaire (see my Popular Astronomy, p. 
501). This is not, then, to be set down as an undeniable in- 
stance of a discovery made by the spirits. 

The immediately foregoing instances are facts actually 
observed at Spiritualistic seances. I will not treat them 
under a generalization foreign to their proper setting. 
They do not prove that, in certain circumstances, thinkers, 
poets, dreamers, investigators, may not be inspired by in- 
fluences emanating from others, from loved ones, from de- 

* I have just found in my library a book which was sent to me in 
1888 by the author, Major-General Drayson, the title of which is 
Thirty Thousand Years of the Earth's Past History, Read by Aid of the 
Discovery of the Second Rotation of the Earth. This second rotation 
would take place about an axis the pole of which would be 29 25' 47" 
from the pole of the daily rotation, about 270 right ascension, and 
would be accomplished in 32,682 years. The author seeks to explain 
it by the glacial periods and variations of climate. But his work is 
full of confusions most strange and even unpardonable in a man 
versed in astronomical studies. The truth is that this General Drayson 
(who died several years ago) was not an astronomer. 




and 1805 




(and 1798) 


(and 1805) 


(and 1812) 


and (1818) 

Fig. la. Orbits of the satellites of Uranus as seen from the earth at 
different dates since the time of their discovery (1781). 


parted friends. That is another question, a topic quite 
apart from experiments which we are giving an account of 
in this book. 

The same author, otherwise generally very judicious, cites 
several examples of foreign tongues spoken by mediums. 
I have not been able to verify them, and I am asked not 
to say here anything but what I am absolutely sure of. 

According to my personal observations, these experiments 
bring us constantly into the presence of ourselves, our own 
minds. I could cite a thousand examples of this. 

One day I received an " aerolite " discovered in a forest 
in the environs of Etrepagny (Eure). Mme. J. L., who 
kindly sent it to me, added that she consulted a spirit about 
its origin and that he replied to her that it came from a star 
named Golda. Now in the first place there is no star of this 
name; and, secondly, this is not an aerolite at all, but a 
piece of slag from an old forge. (See Section 6G2 of my 
Inquiry of 1899. The first of these sections, relating to 
telepathy, have been published in my work The Unknown.) 

A lady reader of mine wrote me from Montpellier: 

Your conclusions would perhaps diminish the prestige of 
Spiritualism in the eyes of certain persons. But, as prestige 
may produce superstition, it is well to clear up matters. 
For my part, that which you have observed agrees with what 
I have myself observed. This is the method which I have 
employed, aided by a friend : 

I took a book and, opening it, retained in my mind the 
number of the right-hand page. Suppose it was 132. I 
said to the table, which had been put in movement by the 
little manoeuvre ordinarily used, " Does a spirit desire 
to communicate ? " 

Keply "Yes." 

Question " Can you see the book which I have just been 
looking at ? " 

Reply "Yes." 


" How many numbers are there on the page that I have 
been looking at ? " 

" Three." 

" Indicate the number of hundreds." 

" One." 

" Indicate the value of the tens." 

" Three." 

" Indicate the value of the units." 

" Two." 

The amounts indicated in these statements are of course 
132. It was enchanting. 

Then, taking the closed book and, without opening it, 
sliding the paper-knife between the pages, I resumed the 
conversation, and the result with this last method was always 

I frequently repeated this little experience (curious at 
any rate) ; and, every time, I had exact replies when I knew 
them, inexact when I was ignorant of them. (Section 657 
of my Inquiry.) 

These examples might be multiplied ad infinitum. 
Everything leads us to think that it is we who are the 
actors in these experiments. But it is not so simple as one 
might suppose, and there is something else in it as well as 
ourselves. Certain unexplained things take place. 

In his remarkable work, Intelligence, Taine explains 
Spiritualistic communications by a sort of unconscious dupli- 
cation of our mind, as I said above. 

The more singular a fact is [he writes *] the more in- 
structive it is. In this respect, Spiritualistic manifestations 
themselves point the way to discoveries by showing us the 
coexistence at the same moment in the same individual of 
two thoughts, two wills, two distinct actions, the one con- 
scious, the other unconscious; the latter he attributes to in- 
visible beings. The brain is, then, a theatre on the stage of 
which several pieces are being played at once, upon several 

* Intelligence, Vol. I., preface, p. 16, edition of 1897. The first edi- 
tion was published in 1868. 


planes, of which only one is not subliminal. Nothing is 
more worthy of study than this plurality of the me. I have 
seen a person who, while speaking or singing, writes, without 
regard to the paper, consecutive sentences and even entire 
pages, without any knowledge of what she is writing. In 
my eyes her sincerity is perfect. Now she declares that at 
the end of a page she has no idea of what she has written on 
the paper. When she reads it, she is astonished, sometimes 
alarmed. The handwriting is different from her ordinary 
handwriting. The movement of the fingers and of the pencil 
is stiff and seems automatic. The writing always ends with 
a signature, that of a deceased person, and bears the mark 
of intimate thoughts, of a secret and inner reserve of ideas 
which the author would not like to divulge. Certainly there 
is proof here of a doubling of the me, the coexistence of two 
parallel and independent trains of thought, of two centres of 
action, or, if you wish, of two moral persons existing in the 
same brain, each one doing his work, and each one a different 
work, the one upon the stage and the other behind the scenes, 
the second as complete as the first, since, alone and unwit- 
ting of the other, it constructs consecutive ideas and fashions 
connected sentences in which the other has no part. 

This hypothesis is admissible, in the light of numerous 
observations of double consciousness.* 

It is applicable to a great number of cases, but not in all. J 
It explains automatic writing. But, as it stands, it is 
necessary to stretch it considerably to make it explain the rap- 
pings (for who raps?), and it does not explain at all the 
levitations of the table, nor the displacement of objects of 
which I have spoken in the first chapter, and I do not very 
well see how it can even explain phrases rapped out back- 
wards or by the strange combinations described above. This 

* All those who occupy themselves with these questions are ac- 
quainted, among other cases, with that of Felida (studied by Dr. 
Azam). In the story of this young girl she is shown as endowed with 
two distinct personalities to such an extent that, in the second state, 
she becomes amorous . . . and enceinte, without knowing anything 
about it in her normal condition. These states of double personalities 
have been methodically observed for thirty years. 


hypothesis is admitted and developed in a more unqualified 
way by Dr. Pierre Janet in his work Psychological Autom- 
atism. This author is one of those who have created a 
narrow circle of observation and study, and who not only 
never emerge from it, but imagine that they have got the 
whole universe in their circle. In going over this kind of 
reasoning, one thinks involuntarily of that old quarrel of 
the two round eyes who saw everything round and of the 
two square eyes who saw everything square, and of the 
history of the Big-endians and of the Little-endians of Gul- 
liver's Travels. An hypothesis is worthy of attention wlicn 
it explains something. Its value does not increase by the 
attempt to generalize it and make it explain everything: 
this is to overpass all reasonable limits. 

We may admit that the sub-conscious acts of an abnormal 
personality, temporarily grafted upon our normal person- 
ality, explain the greater part of mediumistic writing com- 
munications. We can see in these also the evident effects 
of auto-suggestion. But these psycho-physiological hypothe- 
ses do not explain all observations. There is something else. 

We all have a tendency to want to explain everything by 
the actual state of our knowledge. In the face of certain 
circumstances, we say to-day : " It is suggestion, it is 
hypnotism, it is this, it is that." Half a century ago we 
would not have talked in this way, these theories not having 
yet been invented. People will no longer talk in the same 
way half a century, a century, hence, for new words will 
have been invented. But let us not be put off with words ; 
let us not be in such a hurry. 

We must know how to explain in what way our thoughts 
conscious, unconscious, sub-conscious can strike blows 
in a table, move it, lift it. As this question is rather em- 
barrassing, Dr. Pierre Janet treats it as " secondary person- 
ality," and is obliged to have recourse to the movements of 


the toes, to the snapping of the muscles of the fibular tendon, 
to ventriloquism and the deceptions of unconscious accom- 
plices.* This is not a sufficient explanation. 

As a matter of fact, we do not understand how our thought, 
or that of another, can cause raps in a table, by which sen- 
tences are formed. But we are obliged to admit it. Let 
us call it, if you please, " telekinetsis " ; but does that get us 
any farther along ? 

There has been talk for some years about unconscious 
facts, about sub-consciousness, subliminal consciousness, etc. 
I fear that in these things also we are putting ourselves off 
with words which do not explain things very much. 

I intend some day, if the time is given me, to write a 
special book on Spiritualism, studied from the theoretic 
and doctrinal point of view, which will form a second volume 
of my work The Unknown and Psychic Problems, and which 
has been in preparation since the publication of that work 
in 1899. Mediumistic communications, dictations received 
(notably by Victor Hugo, Mme. de Girardin, Eugene Nus, 
and the Phalansterians), will be the subject of special chap- 
ters in this volume, as well as the problem, otherwise im- 
portant, of the plurality of existences. 

It is not my intention to enlarge in this place upon the 
aspects of the general question. That which I restrict my- 
self to establishing in this book is that there are in us, 
about us, unknown forces capable of putting matter in 
motion, just as our will does. I ought, therefore, to limit 
myself to material phenomena. The range of that class of 
investigations is already immense, and the " communica- 
tions " of which I have just spoken are really outside the 
limits of this range. But, as this subject and that of psycho- 
logical experiments are continually overlapping, it was 
necessary to give a summary of it in this place. Let us 

* Psychological Automatism, p. 401-402. 


return for the present to the material phenomena produced 
by mediums and to that which I have myself ascertained in 
my experiences with Eusapia Paladino, who unites them 
nearly all in her own personality and experiences. 



In the earlier pages of this volume some of my later ex- 
periments with the Neapolitan medium, Eusapia Paladino, 
have been described. We shall now revert to the earlier 

My first experimental seance with this remarkable medium 
took place on the 27th of July, 1897. In response to the 
invitation of an excellent and honorable family, that of 
Blech, the name of which has for a long time been hap- 
pily associated with modern researches in theosophy, occult- 
ism, and psychological studies, I betook myself to Montfort- 
1'Amaury, to make the personal acquaintance of this 
medium, whose case had already been studied in several 
particulars by MM. Lombroso, Charles Richet, Ochorowicz, 
Aksakof, Schiaparelli, Myers, Lodge, A. De Rochas, Dariex, 
J. Maxwell, Sabatier, De Watteville, and a great number 
of other scholars and scientists of high standing. Mme. 
Paladino's gifts had even been made the subject of a work 
by Count de Rochas upon The Externalization of Motivity, 
as well as of innumerable articles in the special reviews. 

The impression that results from the reading of all the 
official reports is not altogether satisfactory, and besides 
leaves us with our curiosity entirely ungratified. On the 

> other hand, I can say, as I have already had occasion to 
remark, that, during the last forty years, almost all the 
celebrated mediums have been present at one time or an- 
other in my salon in the avenue 1'Observatoire in Paris, and 



that I have detected them nearly all in trickery. Not that 
they always diivivc: those who affirm this are wrong. But, 
consciously or unconsciously, they bring with them an ele- 
ment of trouble against which one is obliged to be con- 
stantly on guard, and which places the experimenter in 
conditions diametrically opposed to those of scientific ob- 

Apropos of Eusapia I had received from my illustrious 
colleague, M. Schiaparelli, director of the observatory at 
Milan, to whom science is indebted for so many important 
discoveries, a long letter from which I will quote a few 

During the autumn of 1892 I was invited by M. Aksakof 
to be present at a certain number of Spiritualistic sen 
held under his dirertimi and care, for the purpose of meeting 
the medium Ku.-apia I'ahulino, of Naples. 1 saw a mimlxr 
of very surprising thing*, u purt of which, to tell the truth, 
could be explained by very onlinary moans. But there are 
others the production of which I should not know how to 
explain by the known principles of natural philosophy. 1 
add, without any hesitation, that, if it had been possible 
to entirely exclude all suspicion of deceit, one would have 
had to recognize in these facts the beginning of a new sci- 
ence pregnant with consequences of the highest importance. 
But it must be admitted that these experiments have been 
made in a manner little calculated to convince impartial 
judges of their sincerity. Conditions were always imposed 
that hindered the right comprehension of what was really 
taking place. When we proposed modifications in the pro- 
gram suited to give to the experiments the stamp of clear- 
ness and to furnish evidence that was lacking, the medium 
invariably declared that, if we did so, the success of the 
seance would thereby be made impossible. In fine, we did 
not experiment in the true sense of the word : we were obliged 
to be content with observing that which occurred under the 
unfavorable circumstances imposed by the medium. Even 
when mere observation was pushed a little too far, the phe- 


nomena were no longer produced or lost their intensity and 
their marvellous nature. Nothing is more offensive than 
these games of hide-and-seek to which we are obliged to 

All that kind of thing excites distrust. Having passed 
all my life in the study of nature, which is always sincere 
in its manifestations and logical in its processes, it is re- 
pugnant to me to turn my thoughts to the investigation of a 
class of truths, which it seems as if a malevolent and disloyal 
power was hiding from us with an obstinacy the motive of 
which we cannot comprehend. In such researches it is not 
sufficient to employ the ordinary methods of natural philoso- 
phy, which are infallible, but very limited in their action. 
We must have recourse to that other critical method, more 
subject to error, but more audacious and more powerful, of 
which police officers and examining magistrates make use 
when they are trying to bring out a truth in the midst of 
disagreeing witness, a part at least of whom have an inter- 
est in hiding that truth. 

In accordance with these reflections, I cannot say that I 
am convinced of the reality of the things which are comprised 
under the ill-chosen name of Spiritualism. But neither do 
I believe in our right to deny everything; for, in order to 
have a good basis for denial, it is not sufficient to suspect 
fraud, it is necessary to prove it. These experiments, which 
I have found very unsatisfactory, other experimenters of 
great confidence and of established reputation have been able 
to make in more favorable circumstances. I have not enough 
presumption to oppose a dogmatic and unwarranted denial 
to proofs in which scientists of great critical ability, such 
as MM. Crookes, Wallace, Richet, Oliver Lodge, have found 
a solid basis of fact and one worthy their examination, to 
such an extent that they have given to it years of study. 
And we should deceive ourselves if we believed that men 
convinced of the truth of Spiritualism are all fanatics. Dur- 
ing the experiments of 1892 I had the pleasure of knowing 
some of these men. I was obliged to admire their sincere de- 
sire to know the truth; and I found, in the case of several 
of them, philosophic ideas very sensible and very profound, 
joined to a moral character altogether worthy of esteem. 


That is the reason why it is impossible for me to declare 
that Spiritualism is a ridiculous absurdity. I ought, then, to 
abstain from pronouncing any opinion whatever: my mental 
state on this subject may be defined by the word " agnos- 

I have read with much attention all that the late Pro- 
fessor Zullner has written on this subject. His explanation 
has a purely material basis, that is to say, it is the hy- 
pothesis of the objective existence of a fourth dimension of 
space, an existence which cannot be comprised within the 
cope of our intuition, but the possibility of which cannot be 
denied on that ground alone. Once grant the reality of the 
experiments which he describes, and it is evident that his 
theory of these things is the most ingenious and probable 
that can be imagined. According to this theory, mr.liumistio 
phenomena would lose their mystic or mystifying cham 
and would pass into the domain of ordinary physics and of 
physiology. They would lead to a very considerable extru- 
sion of the sciences, an extension such that their author would 
deserve to be placed side by side with Galileo an<l New tun. 
Unfortunately, these experiences of Zollner were made with 
a medium of poor reputation. It is not only the sceptics 
who doubt the good faith of M. Slade : it is the Spiritualists 
themselves. M. Aksakof, whose authority is very great in 
similar matters, told me himself that he had detected him 
in trickery. You see by this that these theories of Zollnor 
lose any support they might have derived from the exact 
demonstration of experiment, at the same time that they re- 
main very beautiful, very ingenious, and quite possi! 

Yes, quite possible in spite of every tiling; in spite of the 
laek of success that I had when I tried to reproduce them 
with Eusapia. On the day when we shall be enabled to 
make, with absolute sincerity, a single one. of these experi- 
ments, the matter will have made great progress; from the 
hands of charlatans it will have passed into those of physi- 
cists and physiologists. 

Such is the communication made to me by M. Schiapa- 
relli. I found his reasoning to be without defect, and it 
was in a state of mind entirely analogous to his that I ar- 


rived at Monfort-l'Amaury (with all the more interest he- 
cause Slade was one of the mediums of whom I was just now 

Eusapia Paladino was introduced to me. She is a woman 
of very ordinary appearance, a brunette, her figure a little 
under the medium height. She was forty-three years old, not 
at all neurotic, rather stout. She was born on January 21, 
1854, in a village of La Pouille; her mother died while giv- 
ing birth to the child; her father was assassinated eight 
years afterward, in 1862, by brigands of southern Italy. 
Eusapia Paladino is her maiden name. She was married 
at Naples to a merchant of modest means named Raphael 
Delgaiz, a citizen of Naples. She manages the petty busi- 
ness of the shop, is illiterate, does not know how to either 
read or write, understands only a little French. I con- 
versed with her, and soon perceived that she has no theories 
and does not burden herself by trying to explain the phe- 
nomena produced by her. 

The salon in which we are going to conduct our experi- 
ments is a room on the ground floor, rectangular, measuring 
twenty feet in length by nineteen in breadth ; there are four 
windows, an outside entrance door and another in the vesti- 

Before the sitting, I make sure that the large doors and 
windows are closely shut by window-blinds with hooks and 
by wooden blinds on the inside. The door of the vestibule 
is simply locked with a key. 

In an angle of the salon, at the left of the large entrance 
door, two curtains of a light color have been stretched on 
a rod, joining in the middle and forming thus a little cabinet. 
In this cabinet there is a sofa, and leaning against this a 
guitar; on one side is a chair, on which have been placed 
a music-box and a bell. In the recess of the window which 
is included in the cabinet there is a music-rack, upon which 


has been placed a plate containing a well-smoothed cake of 
glazier's putty, and under which, on the floor, is a huge tray 
containing a large smoothed cake of the same. We have 
prepared these plaques of putty because the annals of Spir- 
itualism have often shown the imprint of hands and of 
heads produced by the unknown beings whom it is our busi- 
ness in this work to investigate. The large tray weighs 
about nine pounds. 

Why this dark cabinet ? The medium declares it is neces- 
sary to the production of the phenomena " that relate to the 
condensation of fluids." 

I should prefer that there should be nothing of the kind. 
But the conditions must be accepted, though we must have 
an exact understanding about them. Behind the curtain 
the stillness of the aerial waves is at its maximum, the 
light at its minimum. It is curious, strange, infinitely re- 
grettable that light prohibits certain effects. Undoubtedly, 
it would not be either philosophic or scientific to oppose this 
condition. It is possible that the radiations, the forces, 
which act may be the rays of the invisible end of the spectrum, 
I have already had occasion to remark, in the first chapter, 
that he who would seek to make photographs without a dark 
chamber would cloud over his plate and obtain nothing. 
The man who would deny the existence of electricity be- 
cause he had been unable to obtain a spark in a damp atmos- 
phere would be in error. He who would not believe in the 
existence of stars because we only see them at night would 
not be very wise. Modern progress in natural philosophy 
has taught us that the radiations that impinge on the retina 
represent only the smallest fraction of the totality. We 
can then admit the existence of forces which do not act in 
the full light of day. But, in accepting these conditions, 
the essential point is not to be their dupe. 

Hence, before the seance, I examined carefully the nar- 


row corner of the room before which the curtain was 
stretched, and I found nothing except the objects mentioned 
above. Nowhere in the room was there any sign whatever 
of concealed mechanism, no electric wires or batteries or any- 
thing of the kind, either on the floor or in the walls. More- 
over, the perfect sincerity of M. and Mme. Blech is beyond 
all suspicion. 

Before the seance, Eusapia was undressed and dressed 
before Mme. Zelma Blech. Nothing suspicious was found. 

The sitting was begun in full light, and I constantly laid 
stress upon obtaining the largest number of phenomena we 
could in the full light of day. It was only gradually, ac- 
cording as the " spirit " begged for it, that the light was 
turned down. But I obtained the concession that the dark- 
ness should never be absolute. At the last limit, when the 
light had to be entirely extinguished, it was replaced by one 
of the red lanterns used by photographers. 

The medium sits before the curtain, turning her back 
to it. A table is placed before her, a kitchen table, made 
of spruce, weighing about fifteen pounds. I examined this 
table and found nothing in it suspicious. It could be moved 
about in evefy direction. 

I sit at first on the left of Eusapia, then at her right 
side. I make sure as far as possible of her hands, her legs, 
and her feet, by personal control. Thus, for example, to 
begin with, in order to be sure that she should not lift the 
table either by her hands or her legs, or her feet, I take 
her left hand in my left hand, I place my right open hand 
upon her knees, and I place my right foot upon her left 
foot. Facing me, M. Guillaume de Fontenay, no more dis- 
posed than I to be duped, takes charge of her right hand and 
her right foot. 

There is full light, a big kerosene lamp with a wide 
burner and a light yellow shade, besides two lighted candles. 


At the end of three minutes the table begins to move, 
balancing itself, and rising sometimes to the right, some- 
times to the left. A minute afterwards it is lifted entirely 
from the floor, to a height of about nine inches, and remains 
there two seconds. 

In a second trial, I take the two hands of Eusapia in 
mine. A notable levitation is produced, nearly under the 
same conditions. 

We repeat the same experiments thrice, in such a way that 
five levitations of the table take place in a quarter of an 
hour, and for several seconds the four feet are completely 
lifted from the floor, to the height of about nine inches. 
During one of the levitations the experimenters did not 
touch the table at all, but formed the chain above it and in 
the air; and Eusapia acted in the same way. 

So then it seems that an object can be lifted, in opposi- 
tion to the law of gravity, without the contact of the hands 
which have just been acting upon it (Proof already given 
above, pp. 5-8, 16.) 

A round centre table placed at my right comes forward 
without contact towards the table, always in full light, be it 
understood, as if it would like to climb up on it, and 
falls down. Nobody has moved aside or approached the 
curtain, and no explanation of this movement can be given. 
The medium has not yet entered into a trance and continues 
to take part in the conversation. 

Five raps in the table indicate, according to a conven- 
tion arranged by the medium, that the unknown cause asks 
for less light. This is always annoying : I have already said 
what I think of this. The candles are blown out, the lamp 
turned down, but the light is strong enough for us to see 
very distinctly everything that takes place in the salon. 
The round table, which I had lifted and set aside, ap- 
proaches the table and tries several times to climb up on it. 


I lean upon it in order to keep it down, but I experience an 
elastic resistance and am unable to do so. The free edge of 
the round table places itself on the edge of the rectangular 
table, but, hindered by its triangular foot, it does not suc- 
ceed in clearing itself sufficiently to climb upon it. Since 
I am holding the medium, I ascertain that she makes no 
effort of the kind that would be needed for this style of per- 

The curtain swells out and approaches my face. It is at 
this moment that the medium falls into a trance. She ut- 
ters sighs and lamentations and only speaks now in the 
third person, saying that she is John King, a psychic per- 
sonality who claims to have been her father in another exist- 
ence and who calls her " my daughter " (mia figlicC). This is 
an auto-suggestion proving nothing as to the identity of the 

Five new taps ask for still less light, and the lamp is 
almost completely turned down, but not extinguished. The 
eyes, growing accustomed to the clare-obscure, still distin- 
guish pretty well what is taking place. 

The curtain swells out again, and I feel that I am touched 
on the shoulder, through the stuff of the curtain, as if by a 
closed fist. The chair in the cabinet, upon which are placed 
the music-box and the bell, is violently shaken, and the ob- 
jects fall to the floor. The medium asks again for less 
light, and a red photographic lantern is placed upon the 
piano, the light of the lamp being extinguished. The con- 
trol is rigorously kept up, the medium agreeing to it with 
the greatest docility. 

For about a minute the music-box plays intermittent airs 
behind the curtain, as if it was turned by some hand. 

The curtain moves forward again toward me, and a rather 
strong hand seizes my arm. I immediately reach forward 
to seize the hand, but I grasp only the empty air. I 


then press the two legs of the medium between mine and I 
take her left hand in my right. On the other side, her right 
hand is firmly held in the left hand of M. de Fontenay. 
Then Eusapia brings the hand of the last named toward my 
cheek, and imitates upon the cheek, with the finger of M. 
de Fontenay, the movement of a little revolving crank or 
handle. The music-box, which has one of these handles, 
plays at the same time behind the curtain in perfect syn- 
chronism. The instant that Ensapia's hand stops, the 
music stops: all the movements correspond, just as in the 
Morse telegraphic system. We all amused ourselves with 
this. The thing was tried several times in succession, and 
every time the movement of the finger tallied the playing of 
the music. 

I feel several touches in the back and on the side. M. de 
Fontenay receives a hard slap on the back that everybody 
hears. A hand passes through my hair. The chair of Nf. 
de Fontenay is violently pulled, and a few moments after- 
wards he cries, " I see the silhouette of a man passing be- 
tween M. Flammarion and me, above the table, shutting out 
the red light 1 " 

This thing is repeated several times. I do not myself 
succeed in seeing this silhouette. I then propose to M. de 
Fontenay that I take his place, for, in that case, I should be 
likely to see it also. I soon distinctly perceive a dim sil- 
houette passing before the red lantern, but I do not recog- 
nize any precise form. It is only an opaque shadow (the 
profile of a man) which advances as far as the light and 

In a moment, Eusapia says there is some one behind the 
curtain. After a slight pause she adds: 

" There is a man by my side, on the right : he has a great 
soft forked beard." I ask if I may touch this beard. In 

fact, while lifting my hand, I feel a rather soft beard 
brushing against it. 

A block of paper is put on the table with a lead-pencil, 
with the hope of getting writing. This pencil is flipped 
clear across the room. I then take the block of paper and 
hold it in the air: it is snatched violently from me, in spite 
of all my efforts to retain it. At this moment, M. de 
Fontenay, with his back turned to the light, sees a hand 
(a white hand and not a shadow), the arm showing as far 
as the elbow, holding the block of paper; but all the others 
declare that they only see the paper shaking in the air. 

I did not see the hand snatch the packet of paper from 
me; but only a hand could have been able to seize it with 
such violence, and this did not appear to be the hand of the 
medium, for I held her right hand in my left, and the paper 
with arm extended in my right hand, and M. de Fontenay 
declared that he did not let go of her left hand. 

I was struck several times in the side, touched on the 
head, and my ear was smartly pinched. I declare that after 
several repetitions I had enough of this ear pinching; but 
during the whole seance, in spite of my protestations, some- 
body kept hitting me. 

The little round table, placed outside of the cabinet, at 
the left of the medium, approaches the table, climbs clear 
np on it and lies across it. The guitar in the cabinet is 
heard moving about and giving out sounds. The curtain 
is puffed out, and the guitar is brought upon the table, 
resting upon the shoulder of M. de Fontenay. It is then 
laid upon the table, the large end toward the medium. Then 
it rises and moves over the heads of the company without 
touching them. It gives forth several sounds. The phe- 
nomenon lasts about fifteen seconds. It can readily be 
seen that the guitar is floating in the air, and the reflection 
of the red lamp glides over its shining surface. A rather 


bright gleam, pear-shaped, is seen on the ceiling in the 
other corner of the room. 

The medium, who is tired, asks for rest. The candles 
are lighted. Mme. Blech returns the objects to their places, 
ascertains that the cakes of putty are intact, places the 
smallest upon the little round table and the large one upon 
the chair in the cabinet, behind the medium. The sitting 
is resumed by the feeble glimmer of the red lantern. 

The medium, whose hands and feet are carefully con- 
trolled by M. de Fontenay and myself, breathes heavily. 
Above her head the snapping of fingers is heard. She still 
pants, groans, and sinks her fingers into my hand. Three 
raps are heard. She cries, " It is done " (" E fatto "). 
M. de Fontenay brings the little dish beneath the light of 
the red lantern and discovers the impression of four fingers 
in the putty, in the position which they had taken when she 
gripped my hand. 

Seats are taken, the medium asks for rest, and a little 
light is turned on. 

The sitting is soon resumed as before, by the extremely 
feeble light of the red lantern. John is spoken of as if he 
existed, as if it was he whose head we perceived in silhouette ; 
he is asked to continue his manifestations, and to show 
the impression of his head in the putty, as he has already 
several times done. Eusapia replies that it is a difficult 
thing and asks us not to think of it for a moment, but to 
go on speaking. These suggestions of hers are always dis- 
quieting, and we redouble our attention, though without 
speaking much. The medium pants, groans, writhes. The 
chair in the cabinet on which the putty is placed is heard 
to move. The chair comes forward and places itself by the 
side of the medium, then it is lifted and placed upon the 
head of Mme. Z. Blech, while the tray is lightly placed in 
the hands of M. Blech, at the other end of the table. Eu- 


sapia cries that she sees before her a head and a bust, and 
says, " E fatto" ("It is done"). We do not believe her, 
because M. Blech has not felt any pressure on the dish. 
Three violent blows as of a mallet are struck upon the table. 
The light is turned on, and a human profile is found im- 
printed upon the putty. 

Mme. Z. Blech kisses Eusapia upon both cheeks, for the 
purpose of finding out whether her face has not some odor 
(glazier's putty having a very strong odor of linseed oil 
which remains for some time upon the fingers). She dis- 
covers nothing abnormal. 

This discovery of a " spirit head " in the putty is so 
astonishing, so impossible to admit without sufficient veri- 
fication, that it is really still more incredible than all the 
rest. It is not the head of the man whose profile I per- 
ceived, and the beard I felt on my hand is not there. The 
imprint has a resemblance to Eusapia's face. If we sup- 
posed she produced it herself, that she was able to bury her 
nose up to the cheeks and up to the eyes in that thick putty, 
we should still have to explain how that large and heavy 
tray was transported from the other end of the table and 
gently placed in the hands of M. Blech. 

The resemblance of the imprint to Eusapia was undenia- 
ble. I reproduce both the print and the portrait of the 
medium.* Every one can assure himself of it. The sim- 
plest thing, evidently, is to suppose the Italian woman im- 
printed her face in the putty. 

But how? 

We are in the dark as to this, or nearly so. I sit at the 
right hand of Eusapia, who rests her head upon my left 
shoulder, and whose right hand I am holding. M. de Fon- 
tenay is at her left, and has taken great care not to let go 

* See PL IV. and V. I preserve with care a plaster cast of this im- 


of the other hand. The tray of putty, weighing nine 
pounds, has been placed upon a chair, twenty inches behind 
the curtain, consequently behind Eusapia. She cannot 
touch it without turning around, and we have her entirely in 
our power, our feet on hers. Now the chair upon which 
was the tray of putty has drawn aside the hangings, or por- 
tieres, and moved forward to a point above the head of the 
medium, who remained seated and held down by us; moved 
itself also over our heads, the chair to rest upon the head 
of my neighbor, Mme. Blech, and the tray to rest softly in 
the hands of M. Blech, who is sitting at the end of the table. 
At this moment Eusapia rises, declaring that she sees upon 
the table another table and a bust, and cries out, " E fatto " 
(" It is done "). It was not at this time, surely, that she 
would have been able to place her face upon the cake, for it 
was at the other end of the table. Nor was it before this, 
for it would have been necessary to take the chair in one 
hand and the cake with the other, and she did not stir from 
her place. The explanation, as can be seen, is very difficult 

Let us admit, however, that the fact is so extraordinary 
that a doubt remains in our mind, because the medium rose 
from her chair almost at the critical moment. And yet her 
face was immediately kissed by Mme, Blech, who perceived 
no odor of the putty. 

Dr. Ochorowicz writes as follows apropos of these prints 
of faces and of the study which he made of them at Rome :* 

The imprint of this face was obtained in darkness, yet at 
a moment when I held the two hands of Eusapia, while iny 
arms were entirely around her. Or, rather, it was she who 
clung to me in such a way that I had accurate knowledge of 
the position of all her limbs. Her head rested against mine, 

* A. de Rochas, The Extcmalization of Motivity, fourth edition, 1906, 
p. 406. 




and even with violence. At the moment of the production 
of the phenomenon a convulsive trembling shook her whole 
body, and the pressure of her head on my temples was so 
intense that it hurt me. 

At the moment when the strongest convulsion took placo, 
she cried, "Ah, clue dura!" (" Oh, how severe! ") We at 
once lighted a candle and found a print, rather poor in com- 
parison with those which other experimenters have obtained, 
a thing due, perhaps, to the bad quality of the clay which 
I used. This clay was placed about twenty inches to the 
right of the medium, while her head was inclined to the left. 
Her face was not at all soiled by the clay, which was yet so 
moist as to leave traces upon the fingers when touched. 
Moreover, the contact of her head with mine made me suffer 
so much that I am absolutely sure it was not intermitted for 
a single moment. Eusapia was very happy when she saw a 
verification made under conditions in which it was impossi- 
ble to suspect her good faith. 

I then took the tray of clay, and we passed into the dining- 
room in order to better examine the imprint, which I placed 
on a large table near a big kerosene lamp. Eusapia, who 
had fallen into a trance, remained for some moments stand- 
ing, her hands resting upon the table, motionless and as if 
unconscious. I did not lose sight of her, and she looked 
at me without seeing anything. Then, with an uncertain 
step, she moved backward toward the door and passed slowly 
into the chamber which we had just left. We followed her, 
observing her all the while, and leaving the clay behind upon 
the table. We had already got into the chamber when, lean- 
ing against one of the halves of the double door, she fixed 
her eyes upon the tray of clay which had been left upon the 
table. The medium was in a very good light: we were 
separated from her by a distance of from six to ten feet, and 
we perceived distinctly all the details. All of a sudden 
Eusapia stretched her hand out abruptly toward the clay, 
then sank down uttering a groan. We rushed precipi- 
tately towards the table and saw, side by side with the im- 
print of the head, a new imprint, very marked, of a hand 
which had been thus produced under the very light of the 
lamp, and which resembled the hand of Eusapia. I have, 


myself, obtained head prints a dozen times, but always rather 
poor, owing to the quality of the clay, and often broken 
while the experiment was going on. 

The Chevalier Chiaia, of Naples, who first obtained these 
fantastic pictures through the agency of Eusapia, wrote as 
follows, in this connection, to Count de Rochas: 

I have imprints in boxes of clay weighing anywhere be- 
tween fifty-five and sixty-five pounds. I mention the weight 
in order to let you see the impossibility of lifting and trans- 
porting with one hand alone so heavy a tray, even upon the 
supposition that Eusapia might, unknown to us, free one 
of her hands. In almost every case, in fact, this tray, placed 
upon a chair three feet behind the medium, was brought for- 
ward and placed very gently upon the table about which we 
were seated. The transfer was made with such nicety that 
the persons who formed the chain and held firmly the hands 
of Eusapia did not hear the least noise, did not perceive the 
least rustling. We were forewarned of the arrival of the tray 
upon the table by seven taps, which, according to our conven- 
tional arrangement, John struck in the wall to inform us that 
we could turn on the light. I did so at once by turning the 
cock of the gas-fixture which was suspended above the table. 
(We had never completely extinguished it.) We then found 
the tray upon the table, and, upon the clay, the imprint which 
we supposed must have been made before its transfer, and 
while it was behind Eusapia, in the cabinet where John usu- 
ally materializes and manifests himself. 

The totality of these observations (which are very nu- 
merous) leads us to the thought that, in spite of the improb- 
ability of the thing, these imprints are produced at a dis- 
tance by the medium. 

However, some days after the seance at Montfort-PAm- 
aury I wrote as follows: 

These different manifestations are not to me equally au- 
thentic. I am not sure of all of them, for the phenomena 


were not all produced under the same conditions of certainty. 
I should wish to class the facts in the following order of de- 
creasing certainty: 

1. Levitations of the table. 

2. Movements of the round table without contact. 

3. Mallet blows. 

4. Movements of the curtain. 

5. Opaque silhouette passing before the red lamp. 

6. Sensation of a beard upon the back of the hand. 

7. Touchings. 

8. Snatching of the block of paper. 

9. Throwing of the lead-pencil. 

10. Transference of the round table to the top of the other 


11. Music from the little box. 

12. Transfer of the guitar to a point above the head. 

13. Imprints of a hand and of a face. 

The first four events, having taken place in full light, are 
incontestable. I should put almost in the same rank Nos. 
5 and 6. No. 7 may perhaps be due very often to fraud. 
The last in the list, having been produced toward the end of 
the seance, at a time when attention was necessarily relaxed, 
and being still more extraordinary than all the others, I con- 
fess that I cannot admit it with certainty, although I can 
not understand how it could have been due to fraud. The 
four others seem genuine ; but I should like to observe them 
anew; a man could wager ninety-nine to one hundred that 
they are true. I was absolutely sure of them during the 
seance. But the vividness of the impressions grows weak, 
and we have a tendency to listen only to the voice of plain 
common sense, the most reasonable and the most deceptive 
of our faculties. 

The first impression we get upon the reading of these re- 
ports is that these different manifestations are rather vulgar, 
altogether banal, and do not tell us anything about the other 
world or about other worlds. Surely it does not seem 
probable that any spiritual being would take part in such 
performances. For these phenomena are of an absolutely 
material class. 


On the other hand, however, it is impossible not to rec- 
ognize the existence of unknown forces. The simple fact, 
for example, of the levitation of a table to a height of six 
and one-half, eight, sixteen inches from the floor is not banal 
at all. It seems to me, speaking for myself alone, so ex- 
traordinary that my opinion is very well expressed when I 
say that I do not dare to admit it without having seen it 
myself, with my own eyes: I mean that which is called 
seeing, in full light and under such conditions that it would 
be impossible to suspect. While we are very sure that we 
have proved it, we are at the same time sure that in such 
experiments there emanates from the human body a force 
that may be compared with the magnetism of the loadstone, 
able to act upon wood, upon matter (somewhat as the load- 
stone acts upon iron), and counterbalancing for some mo- 
menta the action of gravity. From the scientific point of 
view, that is a weighty fact in itself. I am absolutely cer- 
tain that the medium did not lift that weight of fifteen 
pounds either by her hands or by her legs, or by her feet, 
and, furthermore, no one of the company was able to do it. 
The table was lifted by its upper surface. We are, there- 
fore, certainly in the presence of an unknown force here 
which emanates from the persons present, and above all from 
the medium. 

A rather curious observation ought to be made here. 
Several times during the course < f this seance, and during 
the levitation of the table, I said, " There is no spirit." 
Every time I said this two violent blows of protestation were. 
struck in the table. I have already remarked that, gonrr- 
ally, we are supposed to admit the Spiritualistic hypothesis 
and to ask a spirit to exert himself in order that we may 
obtain the phenomena. We have here a psychological mat- 
ter not without importance. Still, it does not seem to rne, 
for all that, to prove the real existence of spirits, for it might 


happen that this idea was necessary to the concentration of 
the forces present and had a purely subjective value. Re- 
ligious zealots who believe in the efficacy of prayer are the 
dupes of their own imagination; and yet no one can doubt 
that certain of these petitions appear to have been granted 
by a beneficent deity. The Italian or Spanish girl who 
goes to beg of the Virgin Mary that she will punish her lover 
for an infidelity may be sincere, and never suspects the 
strangeness of her request. In dreams we all converse 
every night with imaginary beings. But there is something 
more here: the medium really duplicates herself. 

I take the point of view solely of the physicist whose 
business is to observe, and I say, whatever may be the 
explanatory hypothesis you may adopt, there exists an invis- 
ible force derived from the organism of the medium, and hav- 
ing the power to emerge from him and to act outside of him. 

That is the fact: what is the best hypothesis to explain 
it ? 1. Is it the medium who herself acts, in an unconscious 
manner, by means of an invisible force emanating from her ? 
2. Is it an intelligent cause apart from her, a soul that has 
already lived upon this earth, who draws from the medium 
a force which it needs in order to act? 3. Is it another 
kind of invisible beings ? Nothing authorizes us to affirm 
that there may not exist, side by side with us, living, invis- 
ible forces. There you have three very different hypotheses, 
none of which seems to me, as far as my personal experience 
goes, to be as yet conclusively proved. 

But there certainly emanates from the medium an invis- 
ible force; and the participants, by forming the psychic 
chain and by uniting their sympathetic wills, increase this 
force. This force is not immaterial. It may be a sub- 
stance, an agent emitting radiations of wave-lengths which 
make no impression on our retina, and which are neverthe- 
less very powerful. In the absence of light rays it is able 


to condense itself, take shape, affect even a certain resem- 
blance to the human body, to act as do our organs, to vio- 
lently strike a table, or touch us. 

It acts as if it were an independent being. But this inde- 
pendence does not really exist; for this transitory being is 
intimately connected with the organism of the medium, and 
its apparent existence ceases when the conditions of its pro- 
duction themselves cease. 

While writing these monstrous scientific heresies, I feel 
very deeply that it is difficult to accept them. Still, after 
all, who can trace the limits of science? We have all 
learned, especially during the last quarter of a century, that 
our knowledge is not a very colossal affair, and that, apart 
from astronomy, there is as yet no exact science founded 
upon absolute principles. And then, when all is said, there 
are the facts to be explained. Doubtless it is easier to deny 
them. But it is not decent or civil. He who has merely 
failed to find what satisfies him has no right to deny. The 
best he can do is simply to say, " I know nothing about it." 

The fact is that, as yet, we have not elementary data 
enough to enable us to characterize these forces ; but we ought 
not to lay the blame upon those who study them. 

To sum up, I believe that I am able to go a little farther 
than M. Schiaparelli and affirm the certain existence of 
unknown forces capable of moving matter and of counter- 
balancing the action of gravity. There is a complex totality, 
as yet difficult to disentangle, of psychic and physical forces. 
But such facts, however extravagant they may appear, are 
worthy of coming within the sphere of scientific observation. 
It is even probable that they tend powerfully to elucidate 
the problem (a matter of supreme importance to us) of the 
nature of the human soul. 

After the end of that seance of the 27th of July, 1897, 
as I desired to see again the levitation of a table in full 





light, the chain was formed standing, the hands lightly 
placed upon the table. The latter began to oscillate, then 
rose up to a height of nine inches from the floor, remained 
there several seconds (all the participators remaining on 
their feet), and fell heavily back again.* 

M. G. de Fontenay succeeded in getting several photo- 
graphs by the magnesium light. I reproduce two of them 
here (PI. VI.). There are five experimenters who are, from 
left to right, M. Blech, Mme. Z. Blech, Eusapia, myself, 
Mile. Blech. In the first photograph the table rests upon 
the floor. In the second it floats in air, coming up as high 
as the arms, at a height of about ten inches on the left and 
eight inches on the right. I hold my right foot resting upon 
Eusapia's feet and my right hand upon her knees. With 
my left hand I hold her left hand. The hands of all the 
others are upon the table. It is therefore altogether impos- 
sible for her to employ any muscular action. This photo- 
graphic record confirms that of PI. I., and it seems to 
me difficult not to recognize its undeniable documentary 
value, f 

After this seance my most ardent desire was to see the 
same experiments reproduced at my own house. In spite 
of all the care I took with my observations, several objec- 
tions can be taken to the absolute certainty of the phenomena. 
The most important arises from the existence of the little 
dark cabinet. Personally, I was sure of the perfect probity 
of the honorable Blech family, and I am unable to accept the 
idea of any trickery whatever on the part of any of its mem- 
bers. But the opinion of readers of the formal report may 

The reports of the sittings at Montfort-l'Amaury form the subject 
of a remarkable work by M. Guillaume de Fontenay, Apropos of Eu- 
sapia Paladmo, one vol., 8vo. illustrated, Paris, 1898. 

tThe respective places of the persons were not always those of the 
photographs. Thus, at the time of the production of the imprint, M. 
G. de Fontenay was at the right of Eusapia, and M. Blech at the same 
end of the table. 


not be so well assured. It was not impossible that, even 
unknown to the members of the family, some one, with the 
connivance of the medium, glided into the room, favored by 
the dim light, and produced the phenomena. An accom- 
plice entirely clothed in black and walking barefoot would 
have been able to hold the instruments up in the air, put 
them in movement, make the touches, and cause the black 
mask to move at the end of a rod, etc. 

This objection could be verified or quashed by renewing 
the experiments at my house, in a room of my own, where 
I should be absolutely certain that no confederate could 
enter. I should myself arrange the curtain, I should place 
the chairs, I should be certain that Eusapia would come 
alone to my apartments, she would be asked to undress and 
dress in the presence of two lady examiners, and every sup- 
position of fraud alien to her proper personality would thus 
be annihilated. 

At this epoch (1898) I was preparing, for I'Annales 
politiques et littcraires, some articles upon psychic phe- 
nomena, which, revised and amplified, afterwards formed 
my work, The Unknown. The eminent and sympathetic 
editor of the review showed himself assiduous in exam- 
ining with me the best means of realizing this scheme of 
personal experiences. Upon our invitation, Eusapia came 
to Paris to. pass the month of November, 1898, and to devote 
eight soirees especially to us namely, the 10th, 12th, 14th, 
16th, 19th, 21st, 25th, and 28th of November. We had 
invited several friends to be present. Each one of these 
seances was the subject of a formal report by several of those 
who were present, notably by MM. Charles Richet, A. de 
Rochas, Victorien Sardou, Jules Claretie, Adolphe Brisson, 
Rene Baschet, Arthur Levy, Gustave Le Bon, Jules Bois, 
Oaston Mery, G. Delanne, G. de Fontenay, G. Armelin, 
Andre Bloch, etc. 


We met in my salon in the avenue de 1'Observatoire, in 
Paris. There were no special arrangements, except the 
stretching of two curtains in one corner, before the angle of 
two walls, thus forming a kind of triangular cabinet, the 
walls about which are there unbroken, without door or win- 
dow. The front of the cabinet was closed by these two 
curtains, reaching from the ceiling to the floor and meeting 
in the middle. 

It is before this kind of cabinet that the reader will please 
imagine the medium to be seated, with a white wooden table 
(kitchen table) before her. 

Behind the curtain, upon the plinth of the projection of 
a bookcase and upon a table, we placed a guitar, also a 
violin, a tambourine, an accordion, a music-box, cushions, 
and several small objects, which were to be shaken, seized, 
thrown about by the unknown force. 

The first result of these seances in Paris, at my house, was 
absolutely to establish the fact that the hypothesis of a con- 
federate is inadmissible and ought to be entirely eliminated. 
Eusapia acts alone. 

The fifth seance led me, moreover, to think that the phe- 
nomena take place (at least a certain number) when the 
hands of Eusapia are closely held by two controllers, that it 
is not generally with her hands that she acts, in spite of 
certain possible trickeries ; for it would be necessary to admit 
(an abominable heresy!) that a third hand could be formed 
in organic connection with her body ! 

Before every seance Eusapia was undressed and dressed 
again in the presence of two ladies charged with seeing that 
she did not hide any tricking apparatus under her clothes. 

It would be a little long to go thoroughly into the details of 
these eight sittings, and it would be partly to go over what 
has already been described and commented upon in the first 
chapter, as well as in the preceding pages. But it will 


not be uninteresting to give here the estimate of several of 

the sitters, by reproducing some of the reports. 

I will begin with that of M. Arthur Levy, because he 
describes very fully the installation, the impression produced 
upon him by a medium, and the greater part of the facts 

Report of M. Arthur Le>y 

(Seance of November 16) 

That which I am going to relate I saw yesterday at your 
house. I saw it with distrust, closely observing all that 
might have resembled trickery; and, after I had seen it, I 
found it so far beyond the things that we are accustomed to 
conceive that I still ask myself if I really saw it. Yet I 
must confess that I have not been dreaming. 

When I arrived at your salon, I found the furniture and 
all the other arrangements as usual. On entering, only a 
single change could be remarked at the left, where two thick 
curtains of gray and green rep concealed a little corner. 
Eusapia was to perform her wonders before this kind of 
alcove. This was the mysterious corner : I examined it very 
minutely. It had in it a little round uncovered table, a 
tambourine, a violin, an accordion, castanets, and one or two 
cushions. After this precautionary visit, I was certain that 
in this place at least there was no preparation, and that no 
communication with the outside was possible. 

I hasten to say that from this moment up to the end of 
the experiments we did not leave the room for a single min- 
ute, and that, so to speak, we had our eyes constantly fixed 
upon this corner, the curtains of which, however, were al- 
ways partly open. 

Some moments after my examination of the cabinet Eusa- 
pia arrives, the famous Eusapia. As almost always hap- 
pens, she looks quite different from what I had anticipated. 
Where I had expected to see I do not well know why, in- 
deed a tall thin woman with a fixed look, piercing eyes, 
with bony hands, and abrupt movements, agitated by nerves 


incessantly trembling under perpetual tension, I find a 
woman in the forties, rather plump, with a tranquil air, soft 
hand, simple in her manners, and slightly shrinking. Alto- 
gether, she has the air of an excellent woman of the people. 
Yet two things arrest the attention when you look at her. 
First, her large eyes, filled with strange fire, sparkle in their 
orbits, or, again, seem filled with swift gleams of phos- 
phorescent fire, sometimes bluish, sometimes golden. If I 
did not fear that the metaphor was too easy when it con- 
cerns a Neapolitan woman, I should say that her eyes appear 
like the glowing lava fires of Vesuvius, seen from a distance 
in a dark night. 

The other peculiarity is a mouth with strange contours. 
We do not know whether it expresses amusement, suffering, 
or scorn. These peculiarities impress themselves on the 
mind almost simultaneously, without our knowing on which 
one to fix the attention. Perhaps we should find in these 
features of her face an indication of forces which are acting 
in her, and of which she is not altogether the mistress. 

She takes a seat, enters into all the commonplaces of the 
conversation, speaking in a gentle, melodious voice, like many 
women of her country. She uses a language difficult for 
herself and not less difficult for others, for it is neither 
French nor Italian. She makes painful efforts to make her- 
self understood, and sometimes does this by mimicry (or 
sign-language) and by willing to obtain that which she 
wants. However, a persistent irritation of the throat, like 
a pressure of blood returning at short intervals, forces her 
to cough, to ask for water. I confess that these paroxysms, 
in which her face became deeply flushed, caused me great 
anxiety. Were we going to have the inevitable indisposi- 
tion of the rare tenor, on the day when he was to be heard on 
the stage? Happily, nothing of the kind took place. It 
was rather a sign of the contrary, and seemed like a fore- 
runner of the extreme excitement which was going to take 
possession of her on that evening. In fact, it is very re- 
markable that from the moment when she put herself how 
shall I say it ? in condition for work, the cough, the irri- 
tation of the throat, completely disappeared. 

When her fingers were placed on black wool, to be frank, 


upon the trousers cloth of one of the company, Eusapia 
called our attention to the kind of diaphanous marks made 
upon them (the fingers), a distorted, elongated second con- 
tour. She tells us that that is a sign that she is going to be 
given great power to-day. 

While we are talking some one puts a letter-weigher on 
the table. Putting her hands down on each side of the let- 
ter-weigher, and at a distance of four inches, she causes the 
needle to move to No. 35 engraved on the dial plate of the 
weigher. Eusapia herself asked us to convince ourselves, 
by inspection, that she did not have a hair leading from one 
hand to the other, and with which she could fraudulently 
'press upon the tray of the letter-weigher. This little by- 
play took place when all the lamps of the salon were fully 
lighted. Then commenced the main series of experiments. 

We sit around a rectangular table of white wood, the com- 
mon kitchen table. There are six of us. Close to the cur- 
tains, at one of the narrow ends of the table, sits Eusapia; 
at her left, also near the curtains, is M. Georges Mathieu, 
an agricultural engineer at the observatory in Juvisy; next 
comes my wife ; M. Flammarion is at the other end, facing 
Eusapia; then Mme. Elammarion; finally myself. I am 
thus placed at the right hand of Eusapia, and also against 
the curtain. M. Mathieu and myself each hold a hand of 
the medium resting upon his knee, and, furthermore, Eu- 
sapia places one of her feet upon ours. Consequently, no 
movements of her legs or arms can escape our attention. 
Note well, therefore, that this woman has the use only of 
her head and of her bust, which latter is of course without 
the use of the arms, and is in absolute contact with our 

We rest our hands on the table. In a few moments it 
begins to oscillate, stands on one foot, strikes the floor, rears 
up, rises wholly into the air, sometimes twelve inches, 
sometimes eight inches, from the ground. Eusapia utters a 
sharp cry, resembling a cry of joy, of deliverance; the cur- 
tain behind her swells out, and, all inflated as it is, comes 
forward upon the table. Other raps are heard in the table, 
and simultaneously in the floor at a distance of about ten 
feet from us. All this in full light. 


Already excited, Eusapia asks in a supplicating voice 
and broken words that we lessen the lights. She can- 
not endure the dazzling glare in her eyes. She affirms 
that she is tortured, wants us to hurry ; " for," she 
adds, " you shall see fine things." After one of us has 
placed the lamp on the floor behind the piano, in the corner 
opposite the place where we are (at a distance of about 
twenty-three feet), Eusapia no longer sees the light and is 
satisfied; but we can distinguish faces and hands. Let it 
not be forgotten that M. Mathieu and I each have a foot of 
the medium on ours, and that we are holding her hands 
and knees, that we are pressing against her shoulders. 

The table is always shaking and makes sudden jolts. Eu- 
sapia calls to us to look. Above her head appears a hand. 
It is a small hand, like that of a little girl of fifteen years, 
the palm forward, the fingers joined, the thumb projecting. 
The color of this hand is livid ; its form is not rigid, nor is 
it fluid; one would say rather that it is the hand of a big 
doll stuffed with bran. 

When the hand moves back from the brighter light, as it 
disappears, is it an optical illusion ? it seems to lose its 
shape, as if the fingers were being broken, beginning with 
the thumb. 

M. Mathieu is violently pushed by a force acting from 
behind the curtain. A strong hand presses against him, he 
says. His chair is also pushed. Something pulls his hair. 
While he is complaining of the violence used upon him, we 
hear the sound of the tambourine, which is then quickly 
thrown upon the table. Next the violin arrives in the same 
manner, and we hear its strings sound. I seize the tam- 
bourine and ask the Invisible if he wishes to take it. I 
feel a hand grasping the instrument. I am not willing to 
let it go. A struggle now ensues between myself and a 
force which I judge to be considerable. In the tussle a 
violent effort pushes the tambourine into my hand, and the 
cymbals penetrate the flesh. I feel a sharp pang, and a good 
deal of blood flows. I let go of the handle. I just now as- 
certain, by the light, that I have a deep gash under the 
right thumb nearly an inch long. The table continues to 
shake, to strike the floor with redoubled strokes, and the ac- 


cordion is thrown upon the table. I seize it by its lower 
half and ask the Invisible if he can pull it out by the other 
end so as to make it play. The curtain comes forward, and 
the bellows of the accordion is methodically moved back and 
forth, its keys are touched, and several different notes are 

Eusapia utters repeated cries, a kind of rattling in the 
throat. She writhes nervously, and, as if she were calling 
for help, cries, "La catena! la catena!" ("The chain! the 
chain!"). We thereupon form the chain by taking hold 
of hands. Then, just as if she was defying some monster, 
she turns, with inflamed looks, toward an enormous divan, 
which thereupon marches up to us. She looks at it with a 
eatanic smile. Finally she blows upon the divan, which 
goes immediately back to its place. 

Eusapia, faint and depressed, remains relatively calm. 
Yet she is dejected ; her breast heaves violently ; she lays her 
head on my shoulder. 

M. Mathieu, tired of the blows which he is constantly re- 
ceiving, asks to change places with some one. I agree to this. 
He changes with Mme. F., who then sits at the right of 
Eusapia, while I am at her left. Mme. F. and I never 
cease to hold the feet, hands, and knees of the medium. M. 
F. sets a water bottle and a glass in the middle of the table. 
The latter's brisk, jolting movements overturn the water 
bottle, and the water is spilled over its surface. The me- 
dium imperatively requires that the liquid be wiped up; 
the water upon the table blinds her, tortures, paralyzes her, 
she says. M. F. asks the Invisible if he can pour water 
into the glass. After some moments the curtain advances, 
the carafe is grasped, and the glass seems to be half full. 
That takes place several different times. 

Mme. F., being no longer able to endure the blows given 
her through the curtain, exchanges seats with her husband. 

I put my repeating watch upon the table. I ask the In- 
visible if he can sound the alarm. (The mechanism of the 
alarm is very difficult to understand, delicate to operate, even 
for me, doing it every day. It is formed by a little tube 
cut in two, one half of which glides smoothly over the other. 
In reality, there is only a projection of one-fiftieth of an 

inch of thickness of tube, upon which it is necessary to press 
with the finger-nail and give quite a push in order to start 
up the alarm.) In a moment the watch is taken by the 
" spirit." We hear the stem-winder turning. The watch 
comes back upon the table without having been sounded. 

Another request is made for the alarm to sound. The 
watch is again taken; the case is heard to open, and shut. 
(Now I cannot open this case with my hands: I have to pry 
it open with a tool like a lever.) The watch comes back 
once more without having sounded. 

I confess that I experienced a disenchantment. I felt 
that I was going to doubt the extent of the occult power, 
which had, nevertheless, manifested itself very clearly. Why 
could it not sound the alarm of this watch ? In making my 
request, had I overstepped the limits of its powers? Was 
I going to be the cause of all the well-proved phenomena of 
which we have had testimony losing the half of their value ? 
I said aloud: 

" Am I to show how the alarm is operated ? " 

" No, no ! " Eusapia warmly replies, "it will do it." 

I will note here that at the moment when I proposed to 
point out the mechanism, there passed through my mind the 
method of pressing upon the little tube. Immediately the 
watch was brought back to the table; and, very distinctly, 
three separate times, we heard it sound a quarter to eleven. 

Eusapia was evidently very tired; her burning hands 
seemed to contract or shrivel ; she gasped aloud with heaving 
breast, her foot kept quitting mine every moment, scraping 
the floor and tediously rubbing along it back and forth. 
She uttered hoarse panting cries, shrugging up her shoulders 
and sneering; the sofa came forward when she looked at it, 
then recoiled before her breath; all the instruments were 
thrown pell-mell upon the table ; the tambourine rose almost 
to the height of the ceiling; the cushions took part in the 
sport, overturning everything on the table; M. M. was 
thrown from his chair. This chair a heavy dining-room 
chair of black walnut, with stuffed seat rose into the air, 
came up on the table with a great clatter, then was pushed 

Eusapia seems shrunken together and is very much af- 


fected. We pity her. We ask her to stop. " No, no ! " 
she cries. She rises, we with her; the table leaves the floor, 
rises to a height of twenty-four inches, then comes clattering 

Eusapia sinks prostrated into a chair. We sit there 
troubled, amazed, in consternation, with a tense and con- 
stricted feeling in the head, as if the atmosphere were 
charged with electricity. 

With many precautions, M. F. succeeds in calming the 
agitation of Eusapia. After about a quarter of an hour she 
returns to herself. When the lamps are again lighted, she 
is seen to be very much changed, her eye dull, her face ap- 
parently diminished to half its usual size. In her trembling 
hands she feels the pricking of needles which she asks us to 
pull out Little by little she completely recovers her senses. 
She appears to remember nothing, not to comprehend at all 
our expressions of wonder. All that is as foreign to her as 
if she had not been present at the sitting. She isn't inter- 
ested in it. So far as she is concerned, it would seem as if 
we were speaking of things of which she had not the faintest 

What have we seen ? mystery of mysteries ! 

We took every precaution not to be the dupes of com- 
plicity, of fraud. Superhuman forces acting near us, so 
near that we heard the very breathing of a living being, 
if living being it were, such are the things our eyes took 
cognizance of for two mortal hours. 

And when, on looking back, doubts begin to creep into the 
mind, we must conclude that, given the conditions in which 
we were, the chicanery necessary to produce such effects 
would be at least as phenomenal as the effects themselves. 

How shall we name the mystery ? 

So much for the report of M. Arthur Levy. I have no 
commentary to make at present upon these reports of my fel- 
low-experimenters. The essential thing, it seems to me, is to 
leave to every one his own exposition and his personal judg- 
ment. I shall proceed in the same way with the other re- 
ports which are to follow. I shall reproduce the principal 


ones. In spite of some inevitable repetitions, they will 
surely be read with extreme interest, especially when we 
take into consideration the high intellectual standing of the 

Report of M. Adolphe Brisson. 

(Seance of November 10) 

(There were present at this stance, besides the' hosts of the occasion, 
M. Prof. Richet, M. and Mme. Ad. Brisson, Mme. Fourton, M. Andre" 
Bloch, M. Georges Mathieu.) 

The following are occurrences which I personally observed 
with the greatest care. I did not once cease to hold in my 
right hand the left hand of Eusapia or fail to feel that we 
were in contact. The contact was only interrupted twice, 
at the moment when Dr. Richet felt a pricking in his arm. 
Eusapia's hand, making violent movements, escaped from my 
grasp; but I seized it again after two or three seconds. 

1. After this sitting had begun, that is, at the end of 
about ten minutes, the table was lifted up away from Eu- 
sapia, two of its legs leaving the floor simultaneously. 

2. Five minutes later the curtain swelled out as if it had 
been inflated by a strong breeze. My hand, never letting 
go of that of Eusapia, pressed gently against the curtain, 
and I experienced a resistance, just as if I had pressed 
against the sail of a ship bellied out by the wind. 

3. Not only was the curtain puffed 
out, forming a big pocket, but the per- 
pendicular edge of the curtain that 
touched the window moved automatic- 
ally aside and drew back as if it were 
pushed by an invisible curtain holder, 
making nearly this kind of a movement. 

4. The curtain, inflated anew, took 

the form of a nose or of an eagle's beak, projecting above the 
table about eight or ten inches. This shape was visible for 
several seconds. 

5. We heard behind the curtain the noise of a chair roll- 
ing over the floor ; by a first push it arrived as far as I was ; 
a second push turned it upside down, its feet in the air, in 


the position shown. It was a heavy stuffed chair. Succeed- 
ing pushes moved it again, lifted it up, 
and made it turn somersaults ; it finally 
came to a standstill almost in the place 
where it had fallen over. 

6. We heard the noise of two or three 
objects falling to the floor (I mean ob- 
jects behind the curtain upon the cen- 
tre-table). The curtain parted in the middle, and in the dim 
light the little violin appeared. Sustained in the air by an 
invisible hand, it came gently forward above our table, 
whence it settled down upon my hand and upon that of my 
neighbor on the left.* 

On two separate occasions the violin rose from the table 
and at once fell back again, making a vigorous leap, like a 
fish flopping upon the sand. Then it glided down to the 
floor, where it remained motionless until the end of the 

7. A new rolling noise was heard behind the curtain. 
This time it was the centre-table. A preliminary effort, 
quite vigorous, enabled it to rise half-way to the top of our 
table. By a second effort it got clear on top and rested upon 
my fore-arm. 

8. Several times I distinctly felt light blows upon my 
right side, as if made with the point of a sharp instrument. 
But the truth compels me to declare that these blows were no 
longer given after Eusapia's feet were held under the table 
by M. Bloch. I note this correlation of things without 
drawing from it any presumption against Eusapia's loyalty. 
I have so much the less reason to suspect her in that her left 
foot did not leave my right foot during the whole sitting. 

* In the following sitting, of November 12, M. Antoniadi writes 
(with an excellent corroborative sketch) : "Phenomenon observed with 
absolute certainty; the violin was thrown upon the table, twenty inches 
above the head of Eusapia." 


Report of M. Yictorien Sardou 

(Seance of November 19) 

(There were present at this seance, besides the hosts of the evening, 
M. V. Sardou, M. and Mme. Brisson, M. A. de Rochas, M. Prof. Richet, 
M. G. de Fontenay, M. Gaston Mery, Mme. Fourton, M. and Mile, des 
Varennes ) . 

I shall only relate here phenomena controlled by myself 
personally in the seance of last Saturday. Consequently, I 
say nothing of the arrangement of the apartment, of the ex- 
perimenters, nor of the events which were first produced in 
the dark and which all the participants were able to authenti- 
cate, such as cracking sounds in the table, levitations, dis- 
placements of the table, raps, etc., as well as the blowing 
out of the curtain over the table, the bringing on of the vio- 
lin, of the tambourine, and so forth. 

Eusapia having invited me to take the place at her side 
which had been vacated by M. Brisson, I sat down on her 
left, while you preserved your place on her right. I took 
her left hand in my right hand, while my left hand placed 
upon the table was in contact with that of my neighbor, the 
medium insisting on this several times in order that the 
chain might not be broken. Her left foot rested upon my 
right foot. All through the experiment I never let go her 
hand for a single second. She grasped my hand with a 
strong pressure, and it followed her through all her move- 
ments. In the same way her foot always kept in contact 
with mine. My foot always kept touch with hers in all 
her foot scrapings on the floor, her shiftings of place, shrink- 
ings, twitchings, etc., which never had anything suspicious 
in them, nor were they of such a nature as to explain the 
events which took place at my side, behind me, around me, 
and upon me. 

In the first place, and in less than a minute after I had 
been placed on the left of the medium, the curtain nearest 
to me was puffed out and brushed against me, as if impelled 
by a gust of wind. Then three times I felt upon my right 
side a pressure which lasted but for a moment, yet was very 
marked. At that moment we were in a very dim light, yet 


enough to make the faces and the hands of all who were pres- 
ent distinctly visible. After Eusapia's violent nervous con- 
tractions, struggles, and energetic pushes (precisely like 
those which I had seen in similar cases elsewhere and which 
only astonish those who have slightly studied these phe- 
nomena), suddenly the curtain nearest to me was blown for- 
ward with an astonishing propulsive power between Eusapia 
and me, in the direction of the table, entirely concealing 
from me the face of the medium; and the violin, which, 
with the tambourine, had, before my introduction, been re- 
placed in the dark chamber, was hurled to the middle of 
the table, as if by an invisible arm. To accomplish this, 
the arm must have lifted the curtain and drawn it along 
with it. 

After this the curtain returned to its first position, but 
not completely; for it still remained puffed out a little be- 
tween Eusapia and me, one of its folds remaining upon tho 
edge of the table at my side. 

Then you took the violin and held it out at such a dis- 
tance from the two curtains that it was wholly visible to the 
company ; and you invited the occult agent to take it. 

This was done, the mysterious agent taking it back with 
him into the dark closet, with as much good will as he had 
shown in bringing it on. 

The violin then fell upon the floor behind the curtains, 
or portieres. One of these which was nearest to me 
resumed its vertical position, and for a time I heard upon 
my right upon the floor behind the curtains a kind of scrim- 
mage between the violin and the tambourine, which were 
displaced, pulled about, and lifted, clashing and resounding 
at a great rate; and yet it was impossible to attribute any 
of these manifestations to Eusapia, whose foot never moved, 
but remained firmly pressed against my own. 

A little after, I felt against my right leg, behind the cur- 
tain, the nibbing of a hard body which was trying to climb 
upon me, and I thought it was the violin. And so it was, 
in fact; and, after an unsuccessful effort to climb higher 
than my knee, this apparently living creature fell with a 
bang upon the floor. 

Almost immediately I felt a new pressure upon my right 


hip, and mentioned the circumstance. You disengaged 
your left hand from the chain, and, turning toward me, 
twice made in the air the gesture of the director of an or- 
chestra moving his baton to and fro. And each time, with 
perfect precision, I felt upon my side the repercussion of a 
blow exactly tallying your gesture, which reached me after 
the delay of a second more or less, and which seemed to 
me to correspond exactly to the time necessary for the trans- 
ference of a billiard ball or a tennis ball from you to me. 

Some one, Dr. Richet, I believe, having spoken at that 
time of strokes upon the shoulders of the sitters in 
which the action and shape of a human hand was very 
marked, I will mention as a proof of his remark that I 
received in succession three blows upon the left shoulder 
(that is to say, the one most distant from the curtain and 
from the medium), more violent than the preceding ones; 
and this time the heavy pressure of the five fingers was 
very evident. Then a last blow with the flat of the hand, 
applied in the small of the back, without hurting me at all, 
was strong enough to make me lean forward, in spite of my- 
self, toward the table. 

Some moments after, my chair, moving under me, glided 
over the floor, and was shifted in such a way as to leave my 
back turned a little in the direction of the dark closet. 

I leave to other witnesses the task of telling the results 
of their personal observations, how, for example, the vio- 
lin, having been picked up by you from the floor and replaced 
upon the table, was held out by Mme. Brisson, as you had 
already done, and lifted up in the same way in the sight of 
all, while I held the left hand of Eusapia, you her right 
hand, and with the hand which remained free you pressed 
the wrist of her left hand. 

Nor do I say anything of a hand-pressure through the 
opening in the curtain, having seen nothing of this myself. 

But that which I did see very well indeed was the sud- 
den appearance of three very vivid little lights between my 
neighbor and myself. They were promptly extinguished 
and seemed like a kind of will-o'-the-wisp, similar to elec- 
tric sparks coming and going with great rapidity. 

In short, I can only repeat here what I have said during 


the course of these experiments, " If I had not been con- 
vinced forty years ago, I should be this evening." 

Report of M. Jules Claretie. 

(Seance of November 25) 

(There were present at this sitting, in addition to the hosts of the 
occasion, M. Jules Claretie and his son, M. Brisson, M. Louia Vig- 
non, Mme. Fourton, Mme. Gagneur, M. G. Delanne, M. Ren Baschet, 
M. and Mme. Basilewnka, M. Mairet, photographer.) 

I note only the impressions I received after the moment 
when Eusapia, who had taken my hand at the time when 
M. Brisson was still seated by her, asked me to replace him. 
I am certain that I did not let go of Eusapia's hand during 
all the experiments. Every moment I felt the pressure of 
her foot upon mine, the heel being especially perceptible. 
I do not believe that I relaxed my fingers for a moment, nor 
released the hand that I held. I was struck with the throb- 
bing of the arteries at the end of Eusapia's fingers : the 
blood bounded feverishly through them. 

I sat next the curtain. It goes without saying that it was 
drawn from right to left or from left to right just as it 
happened. That which I can't understand is that it could 
swell out until it floated over the table like a sail inflated by 
the wind. 

I felt at first a little light blow on my right side. Then, 
through the curtain, two fingers seized me and pinched my 
cheek. The pressure of the two fingers was evident. A 
blow more violent than the first hit me on the right shoulder, 
as if it came from a hard, square body. My chair was twice 
moved and turned, first backward, then forward. 

Those two fingers which pinched my cheek I had already 
felt before I took my place at Eusapia's side when I 
was holding over against the curtain the little white book 
which M. Flammarion had given me. This book was seized 
by two naked fingers (I say naked, because the folds of the 
curtain did not cover them) and then disappeared. I did 
not see these fingers : I touched them, or they touched me, if 


you will. My son held out and handed over also a leather 
cigar-holder, which was grabbed in the same way. 

One of the persons present saw a rather heavy little music- 
box disappear in the same way. 

With hardly a moment's delay the box was removed from 
our side with some violence; and I can speak with the more 
feeling of the force of the projection and of the weight of 
the object, because it struck me under the eye, and this 
morning I still have upon my face the only too visible mark 
of it, and feel the pain of it. I don't understand how a 
woman seated by my side could have the strength to throw 
with such force a box which, so to speak, should have come 
from quite a distance. 

I observe, however, that all the phenomena are produced 
on the same side of the curtain; namely, behind it, or 
through it, if you will. I saw leafy branches fall upon the 
table, but they came from the side of the said curtain. 
Some persons assert that they saw a green twig come in 
through the open window which gives upon Cassini Street. 
But I did not see that. 

There was a little round table behind the curtain, very 
near me. Eusapia takes my hand and places it, held in 
hers, upon the round table. I feel this table shaking, mov- 
ing. At a given moment I believe that I perceive two 
hands near by and upon mine. I am not deceived ; but this 
second hand is that of M. Flammarion, who, on his side, is 
holding the hand of the medium. The round table bestirs 
itself. It leaves the floor, it rises. I have the feeling of 
this at once. Then, the curtain having lifted and, as it 
were, spread itself over the table, I can distinctly see what 
passes behind it. The round table moves; it rises; it falls. 

Suddenly tipping partly over, it rises and comes toward 
me, upon me. It is no longer vertical, but is caught be- 
tween the table and me in a horizontal position. It comes 
with sufficient force to make me recoil, draw in my shoulders, 
and try to push back my chair to let this moving piece of 
furniture pass. It seems, like a living thing, to struggle 
between the table and me. Or, again, it seems like an ani- 
mated being struggling against an obstacle, desiring to pass 
or move on and not being able to do so, being stopped by the 


table or by myself. At a given moment the round table is 
upon my knees, and it moves, it struggles (I repeat the 
word), without my being able to explain to myself what 
force is moving it. 

This force is a formidable one. The little table literally 
pushes me back, and in vain I throw myself backward to let 
it pass. 

Some of those present, M. Baschet among others, have 
said to me that at this moment it was upon two fingers. 
Two fingers of Eusapia push up the round table ! * 

But I, who had not lost my hold on her left hand nor 
her foot, I, who had by me the little round table (quite 
visible in the semi-obscurity to which we had accustomed 
ourselves), saw nothing, nor did I perceive any effort on 
the part of Eusapia. 

I should like to have seen luminous phenomena produced, 
visions of brilliant lights, of sudden gleams of fire. M. 
Flammarion hoped that we were going to see some of these. 
He asked for them. But Eusapia was evidently fatigued by 
this long and very interesting seance. She asked for " un 
poco di luce " ("a little light "). The lamps were relighted. 
Everything was finished. 

This morning I recall with a kind of anxious curiosity the 
least details of this very fascinating soiree. When we had 
returned to the observatory, on leaving our amiable hosts, 
I asked myself if I had been in a dream. But I said to 
myself, " We were present at the skilful performances of a 
woman prestidigitator; we witnessed only theatrical tricks." 
My son recalled to me the prodigies of skill of the brothers 
Isola. This morning, strange to say, reflection makes me 
at once more perplexed and less incredulous. We perhaps 
witnessed (we undoubtedly did witness) the manifestation 
of an unknown force which will hereafter be studied and 
perhaps one day utilized. I should no longer dare to deny 
the genuineness of Spiritualism. It isn't a question of ani- 
mal magnetism: it is something else, I know not what; a 
quid div inum (a divine something), although science will 
some day analyze it and catalogue it. That which perhaps 

This is absolutely true, says my son, who is reading over these 


astonished me the most was the curtain swelling out like a 
sail! Where did the puff of wind come from? A regular 
breeze would have been needed to put such life into it as 
that. However, I do not discuss : I give in my evidence. I 
have seen these things, observed them carefully. I shall thinK 
of them for a long time. I do not stop here. I shall seek 
an explanation. Possibly I shall find one. But this much 
is certain, that we ought to be modest in the presence of all 
that appears to us to be for the moment inexplicable, and 
that, before affirming or denying, we ought to wait, to re- 
serve our judgment. 

In the mean time, while feeling of my right maxillary 
tooth, which is a little sore, I think of that line of Regnard 
and allow myself to mangle it a little while recalling that 
hard music-box, 

ef Je vois que c'est un corps et non pas un esprit." 
(I see that it is a body and not a spirit.) 

Report of Dr. Gustavo Le Bon 

(Seance of November 28) 

(There were present at this stance, besides the hosts, M. and Mme. 
Brisson, MM. Gustave Le Bon, Baschet, de Sergines, Louis Vignon, 
Laurent, Ed. de Rothschild, Delanne, Bloch, Mathieu, Ephrussi, Mme. 
la Comtesse de Chevigne", Mmes. Gagneur, Syamour, Fourton, Basi- 
lewska, Bisschof sheim. ) 

Eusapia is undoubtedly a marvellous subject. It struck 

e as something wonderful that, while I was holding her 
land, she was playing on an imaginary tambourine to which 
ic sounds of the tambourine that was behind the curtain 
iccurately corresponded. 

I do not see how any trick is possible in such a case, any 
lore than in the case of the table. 

My cigarette-holder was grasped by a very strong hand, 
;hich wrenched the object from me with a good deal of 
lergy. I was on my guard and asked to see the experiment 
again. The phenomenon was so singular and so beyond all 


that we can comprehend that we must first try natural ex- 

1. It is impossible that it could have been Eusapia. I 
was holding one of her hands and was looking at the other 
arm, and I placed my cigarette-holder in such a position 
that, even with her two arms free, she would not have been 
able to accomplish such a marvellous thing. 

2. It is not probable that it could have been an accom- 
plice; but is it not possible that the unconscious mind of 
Eusapia suggested to the unconscious mind of a person near 
the curtain to pass a hand behind it and operate there? 
Everybody would be acting in good faith and would have 
been deceived by the unconscious element. This important 
point ought to be verified, for no experiment would be 
so valuable if it were once demonstrated. 

Could not Eusapia's departure be put off ? We shall not 
have a similar opportunity, and we surely ought to clear up 
that phenomenon of the hand. 

It is very evident that the table was lifted ; but that is a 
material phenomenon which one can readily grant. The 
hand which came to seize my cigarette-holder performed an 
act of the will implying an intelligence, but the other is 
nothing of the kind. Eusapia might lift a table to the height 
of three feet without my scientific conception of the world 
being changed by it; but to bring in the intervention of a 
spirit, that would be to prove the existence of spirits, and you 
see the consequences. 

As for the hand which seized the cigarette-case, it is ab- 
solutely certain that it was not that of Eusapia (you know 
that I am very sceptical and that I was looking about me) ; 
but close to the curtain, in the salon, there were a good many 
people, and several times you heard me ask people to stand 
aside from the curtain. If we two had been able to study 
Eusapia absolutely alone, in a room to which we had the 
key, the problem would soon be solved. 

I have not been able to make this verification, the sitting 
at which Dr. Le Bon was present having been the last \vhich 
Eusapia had consented to give at my house. But his objec- 


tion is of no value. I am absolutely certain that nobody 
glided behind the curtain, neither in this particular case nor 
in any other. My wife, also, particularly occupied herself 
in observing what took place in that part of the room and 
never was able to discover anything suspicious. There is 
only one hypothesis; that is, that Eusapia herself handled 
the objects. Since Dr. Le Bon declares that the thing was 
impossible, he himself personally inspecting it, we are com- 
pelled to admit the existence of an unknown psychic force.* 

Report of M. Armelin 

(Seance of November 

(For this sitting I had asked three members of the Astronomical 
Society of France to exercise the severest control possible; namely, 
M. Antoniadi, my assistant astronomer at the observatory of Juvisy, 
M. Mathieu, agricultural engineer at the same observatory, and M. 
Armelin, secretary of the Astronomical Society. The last-named gen- 
tleman sent me the following report. There were also present M. and 
Mme. Brisson, M. Baschet, M. Jules Bois, Mme. Fourton, Mine. La 
Comtesse de Labadye.) 

At quarter of ten Eusapia takes her seat, her back to the 
place where the two curtains meet, her hands resting upon 
the table. At the invitation of M. Flammarion, M. Mathieu 
takes his seat at her right, charged with the duty of keeping 
constant watch upon her left hand, and M. Antoniadi is 
enjoined to do the same for her right hand. They also make 

During the correction of the proofs of these sheets (Oct., 1906), 
I received from Dr. Gustave Le Bon the following note: 

"At the time of her last sojourn in Paris (1906), I was able to 
obtain from Eusapia three seances at my house. I besought one of the 
keenest observers that I know, M. Dastre, a member of the Academy 
of Science and professor of physiology at the Sorbonne, to be kind 
enough to be present at our experiments. There were present also my 
assistant, M. Michaux, and the lady to whose kind offices I owe the 
presence of Eusapia. 

" Besides the levitation of the table, we several times, and almost 
in full light, saw a hand appear. At first it was about two inches 
and a half above Eusapia's head, then at the side of the curtain which 
partly covered her, about twenty inches from her shoulder. 

" We then organized, for the second stance, our methods of control. 


themselves sure of her feet. At the right of M. Mathieu 
sits Mme. la Coratesse de Labadye; on the left of M. An- 
toniadi, Mme. Fourton. Facing Eusapia, between Mmes. 
de Labadye and Fourton, MM. Flaimnarion, Brisson, Bas- 
chet, and Jules Bois. 

The gas chandelier is lighted and the full light turned on. 
This chandelier is almost over the table. A little lamp with 
a shade is placed on the floor behind an easy-chair, near 
the opposite side of the room, in the direction of its great- 
est length, and to the left of the fireplace. 

At five minutes of ten the table is lifted from the side 
opposite to the medium and falls back with a bang. 

At ten o'clock it rises from the side of the medium, who 
withdraws her hands, the other persons holding their hands 
lifted up. The same effect is produced three times. The 
second time, while the table is in the air, M. Antoniadi de- 
clares that he is leaning on it with all his weight and is un- 
able to lower it. The third time, M. Mathieu leans on it in 
the same way and experiences the same resistance. During 
this time, Eusapia holds her closed fist about four inches 
above the table, looking as if she were strongly grasping 
something. The action lasts several seconds. There is no 
doubt whatever about this levitation. When the table falls 
back, Eusapia experiences something like a relaxation after 
a great effort. 

At 10.03 the table is lifted clean off its four feet at once, 
at first on the side opposite to the medium, rising about eight 
inches; then it falls abruptly back. While it is in the air, 
Eusapia calls her two neighbors to witness that they are 

They were altogether decisive. Thanks to the possibility of producing 
behind Eusapia an illumination which she did not suspect, we were 
able to see one of her arms, very skilfully withdrawn from our con- 
trol, move along horizontally behind the curtain and touch the arm 
of M. Dastre, and another time give me a slap on the hand. 

" We concluded from our observations that the phenomena observed 
had nothing supernatural about them. 

" As to the levitation of the table, an extremely light one, placed 
before Eusapia, and which her hands scarcely left, we have not been 
able to formulate any decisive explanation. I will only observe that 
Eusapia admitted that it was impossible for her to displace the slight- 
est one of the very light objects placed upon that table." 

After writing this note, M. G. Le Bon said to me verbally that, 
in his opinion, everything in these experiments is fraud. 


closely holding her hands and her feet, and that she is not in 
contact with the table. 

Then light raps are heard in the table. Eusapia makes 
M. Antoniadi lift his hand about eight inches above the 
table and taps three times upon his hand with her fingers. 
The three taps are heard simultaneously in the table. 

To prove that she is not using either her hands or her 
feet, she sits down sidewise upon her chair on the left, 
stretches out her legs, and puts her feet on the edge of the 
chair of M. Antoniadi : she is in full view and her hands are 
held. At once the curtain is shaken in the direction of 
M. A. 

From 10.10 to 10.15, several times in succession, five raps 
are heard in the table. Each time the gas is turned down a 
little, and each time the table moves without contact. 

At 10.20 it balances itself, suspended in the air, and 
resting upon the two legs of the longer side. Then it rises 
off of its four feet to a height of eight inches. 

10.25. The curtain moves, and M. Flammarion says 
that there is some one behind it, that somebody is pressing his 
hand. He holds his hand out toward the curtain, at a dis- 
tance of about four inches. The curtain is pushed out into 
something like a pocket made by a hand which is drawing 
near. The medium with nervous laugh cries, " Take it, 
take it." M. A. feels through the curtain the touch of a 
soft body, like a cushion. But the hand of M. F. is not 
taken. Objects are heard to move, including the bells of a 

All of a sudden the medium, leaving M. Mathieu, 
stretches her hand above the table toward M. Jules Bois, who 
takes it. At this moment, behind the curtain, an object falls 
to the floor with a great noise. 

10.35. Eusapia, again freeing her right hand, lifts it up 
above her left shoulder, the fingers forward, at a distance 
of several inches from the curtain, and beats four or five 
strokes in the air which are heard to sound in the tambourine. 
Several persons think they see a will-o'-the-wisp through the 
gap between the curtains. 

Up to that point the gas has been gradually lowered. 
After the lapse of a full moment I find that I can no longer 


read, but I can distinguish very clearly the horizontal 
lines of my writing. I can see the hour perfectly by my 
watch, as well as the faces of those present, (that, of Eusapia 
especially) turned toward the light. The gas is now com- 
pletely extinguished. 

At 10.40, the gas being out, I can still read my watch, 
but with difficulty; I still see the lines of my writing, 
though without being able to read. 

Eusapia wants somebody to hold her head, which is done. 
Then she asks somebody to hold her feet. M. Baschet gets 
down on his knees under the table and holds them. 

M. Antoniadi cries, " I am touched ! " and says that he has 
felt a hand. I have very distinctly seen the curtain puff- 
ing out Mme. Flammarion, whom I see silhouetted on 
the bright glass of the window, her head leaning forward, 
goes behind the curtain in order to assure herself that the 
medium is not doing anything suspicious in the way of mo- 

One of the persons present having changed places, Eusapia 
utters complaints: "La catena! la catena!" ("The 
chain! the chain! ") The chain is re-established. 

At 10.45 the curtain is inflated again. A bump is heard. 
The round table touches the elbow of M. Antoniadi. Mme. 
Flammarion, who has kept looking behind the curtain, says 
that she sees the round table turned over. Its feet are in the 
air, and it is moving to and fro. She thinks she sees glim- 
mers of light near the floor. 

M. Mathieu feels a hand and an arm pushing the cur- 
tain against him. M. Antoniadi says that he is touched 
by a cushion; his chair is pulled and turns under him as if 
on a pivot. He is touched again on the elbow by some ob- 

It is ascertained that M. Jules Bois is holding Eusapia's 
right hand above the table; M. Antoniadi assures us that he 
is holding her left hand, and M. Mathieu her feet. 

The curtain is again shaken twice; M. Antoniadi is hit 
in the back very hard, he says, and a hand pulls his hair. 
The only light remaining is the little lamp with a shade, be- 
hind an easy-chair at the farther end of the salon. I con- 
tinue to write, but my strokes take all kinds of shapes. 


Suddenly, M. Antoniadi exclaims that he is enveloped by 
the curtain, which rests upon his shoulders. Eusapia cries, 
" What is this that is passing over me ? " The round table 
comes forth beneath the curtain. Mme. Flammarion, who 
is standing opposite the window, and has kept looking be- 
hind the curtain, says that she sees some very white object. 
At the same moment M. Flammarion, Mme. Fourton, and 
M. Jules Bois exclaim that they have just seen a white hand 
between the curtains, above Eusapia's head ; and, at the 
same moment, M. Mathieu says that his hair is being pulled. 
The hand we saw seemed small, like that of a woman or of 
a child. 

" If there is a hand there," says M. Flammarion, " could 
it perhaps grasp an object ? " M. Jules Bois holds a book 
out toward the middle of the right-hand curtain. The book 
is taken and held two seconds. Mme. Flammarion, whom 
I see always silhouetted upon the bright glass of the win- 
dow, and who is looking behind the curtain, cries that she 
has seen the book pass through. 

M. F. proposes to light up and verify. But everybody 
agrees in thinking that the curtain may have already changed 
its position. A moment afterwards the curtain is again 
puffed out, and M. Antoniadi says that he is hit four or 
five times on the shoulder. Eusapia has asked him more 
than ten times whether he is quite " seguro " (sure) that 
he has hold of her hand and her foot. 

" Yes, yes," he replies, " seguro , segurissimo " (" sure, 
quite sure "). 

Mme. Fourton says that for the second time she has seen 
a hand stretched out and that this time it touched the 
shoulder of M. Antoniadi. M. Jules Bois says that for the 
second time he has seen a hand stretched out at the end of a 
small arm, the fingers moving, the palm forward. (It is 
impossible to decide whether these two visions were simul- 
taneous or not.) 

We are getting accustomed to the almost complete dark- 
ness; I can still read " 11.15 " by my watch. M. Antoniadi 
says his ear is pinched very hard. M. Mathieu says he is 
touched. M. Antoniadi feels his chair pulled: it falls to 

^^ 3k 


'.^ &**$< p 



the floor. He lifts it again and seats himself on it, and is 
again hit very hard on the shoulder. 

About 11.20, at the request of Eusapia, M. Flammarion 
replaces M. Mathieu. He holds her two feet and one hand ; 
M. Antoniadi holds the other hand. The lamp is lowered 
still more. The darkness is almost complete. M. Flam- 
marion, having remarked that an unknown physical force is 
evidently present, but perhaps not an individual personality, 
feels his hand seized all of a sudden by some one (or some 
thing), and is interrupted. Then, a little after, he com- 
plains that his beard is being pulled (on the side opposite 
the medium, where I am. I did not perceive anything). 

At 11.30 the lamp is turned up. It is comparatively 
bright in the room. The curtain, after all these movements, 
is seen to be more and more pushed aside, enveloping the 
head of Eusapia. Suddenly, above her head, we all see the 
tambourine slowly appear and fall upon the table with a 
noise like that of sheep-bells. It seems to me brighter than 
the feeble glimmer of the concealed lamp would justify and 
as if accompanied by white phosphorescent gleams ; but they 
are perhaps flashes of light from its gilded ornaments, 
which, however, ought to appear yellower. 

When the lamp is turned down, the noise of moving fur- 
niture is heard ; the round table is fetched clear up onto the 
top of the large table. It is removed, and the tambourine 
executes a dance all alone with a peculiar sound like the 
ringing of bells. Mme. Fourton says that she has had her 
hand pressed and her fore-arm pinched. 

At 11.45 the window curtain is closed in its turn; and, 
after a moment, we all see in the direction in which the cleft 
in the corner curtain ought to be, above Eusapia's head, a 
large white star of the color of Vega, though larger and of a 
softer light, and which rests motionless for some seconds, 
then is extinguished. Shortly after, a zigzag glimmer of 
light, of the same white color, runs over the right-hand cur- 
tain, tracing two or three upright lines of several inches in 
length, like an N very much elongated. 

In spite of the fact that night has fallen, there is still suf- 
ficient light entering by the two uncurtained windows, and 
proceeding from the vague glimmer of the lamp behind the 


easy-chair, to enable each one of us to distinguish his neigh- 
bors. Our silhouettes are outlined in the large mirror near 
us and above the sofa. The white collars of the men are 
clearly seen, their faces a little less clearly. Yet on my left 
I see very plainly M. Baschet, on my right Mme. Brisson, 
standing and holding her hand up to her face to shield the 
eyes. I also distinguish Mme. Flammarion, who has come 
and seated herself near her. 

M. Flammarion feels an object gliding over his hair. He 
begs Mme. de Labadye to take hold of it; and a music-box 
falls into his hands, which, before the seance, was placed 
upon the ogee, in the corner concealed by the curtain. M. 
Brisson has taken the place at the table formerly occupied 
by M. Flammarion, facing Eusapia. A cushion hits him 
full in the face. As I am approaching the mirror, I see the 
reflection of this passing cushion by the comparatively bright 
light at the far end of the room. 

M. Baschet seizes the object and rests his elbow upon it. 
It is snatched from him, flies over our heads, hits the mirror, 
falls upon the sofa, and rolls upon my foot. All this with- 
out my being able to perceive any movement on the part of 
the medium. 

Midnight draws near. The seance is adjourned. 

MM. Antoniadi and Mathieu then declare that the control 
with which they were charged has not been successful, and 
that they are not sure that they have always had hold of the 
medium's hands. 

Report of M. Antoniadi 

(The Same Seance) 

I shall give you an exact account of the role I played, 
that I may gratify your desire to know the truth. 

I restricted myself to ascertaining whether there was a, 
single phenomenon which could not be explained in the most 
simple manner, and I arrived at the conclusion that there 
was not. I assure you, on my word of honor, that my watch- 
ful, silent attitude convinced me, beyond all manner of 


doubt, that everything is fraudulent, from the beginning to 
the end; that there is no doubt that Eusapia shifts her 
hands or her feet, and that the hand or the foot that one is 
thought to control is never held tight or very strongly pressed 
at the 'moment of the production of the phenomena. My cer- 
tain conclusion is that nothing is produced without the sub- 
stitution of hands. I ought to add that, at first, I was very 
much astonished when I was hit hard in the back, from be- 
hind the curtain, while I was very clearly holding two hands 
with my right hand. Happily, however, at this moment, 
Mme. Flammarion having given us a little light, I saw that 
I held the right hand of Eusapia and yours ! 

The substitution is made by Eusapia with extraordinary 
dexterity. In order to ascertain it, I was obliged to con- 
centrate my mind upon her very slightest movements with 
the severest attention. But it is the first step that costs; 
and, once familiarized with her artifices, I predicted with 
decision all the phenomena by the sensation of touch alone. 

Being a good observer, I am absolutely certain that I 
was not deceived. I was neither hypnotized, nor was I at 
all frightened during the " bringing in " of objects. And, 
as I am not a lunatic, I believe that a certain weight 
should be given to my affirmations. 

It is true that, during the seance, I was not sincere, dis- 
guising the truth of the efficacy of my control. I did that 
with the sole purpose of making Eusapia think that I was 
a convert to Spiritualism. I did this to avoid scandal. But, 
once the sitting was over, the Truth choked me, and I was 
most eager to communicate it to my great benefactor and 
official superior. 

It is not prudent to be too affirmative. It is for that 
reason that I have always been reserved in my interpretation 
of natural phenomena. Consequently, I am unable to be so 
terribly affirmative as to take oath to the absolute charlatan- 
ism of the manifestations of Eusapia, before, as Shake- 
speare says, I have " rendered assurance doubly sure." 

I have no personal ambition in the spiritistic line, and all 
the careful observations that I made during this seance of 
November 21 are only one stone the more contributed to the 
edifice of Truth. 


It is not on account of prejudice that I do not believe in 
the reality of the manifestations, and I can assure you, if I 
were able to see the least phenomenon that was really extraor- 
dinary or inexplicable, I should be the first to confess my 

The reading of several books has led me to admit the pos- 
sible reality of these manifestations, but direct experience 
has convinced me of the contrary. 

My frankness in this report unhappily borders upon indis- 
cretion. But frankness is here synonymous with devotion, 
for it would be to betray you if I were false for an instant 
to the sacred cause of Truth. 

Report of M. Mathieu. 

(Seance of November 25) 

The seance opens at 9.30. M. Brisson, controller on the 
left, puts his feet on Eusapia's feet; M. Flammarion, con- 
troller on the right, holds her knees. In a moment the table 
leans to the right, its two left feet are lifted and then it falls 
back; then follows the lifting of the two right feet, and 
finally the lifting of the whole table off of its four feet to a 
height of about seven inches above the floor (contact of feet 
certain and knees motionless). I take a photograph. 

At 9.37 a slight lifting on the left; then a lifting on the 
right, and a total levitation (photograph). 

During the levitations of the table the salon is lighted by 
a strong Auer burner. It is now extinguished and is re- 
placed by a little lamp which is placed behind a fire-screen 
at the farther end of the room. Absolute control of the 
hands and of the feet made by MM. Brisson and Flam- 

M. Brisson is slightly touched on the right hip, and at this 
moment the two hands of Eusapia are plainly seen. 

At 9.48 the curtain shakes and then puffs out three times 
in succession. M. Brisson is again touched on the right 
hip ; the curtain is drawn back as if by a curtain-band. M. 
Flammarion, who holds Eusapia's hand, makes three ges- 


tures and to each of his gestures corresponds a new diver- 
gence of the portiere. Eusapia recommends that we " give 
attention to the temperature of the medium ; it will be found 
to be changed after each phenomenon." 

At 9.57 the light is diminished and is henceforth very 
feeble. The curtain bellies out, and at the same moment 
M. Brisson is touched; then the curtain is flung forcefully 
over the table. At the request of Eusapia, M. Delanne 
lightly touches her head behind, and the curtain slightly 

Eusapia asks that a window be partly opened, the one in 
the middle of the salon, saying that we shall see something 
new. M. Flammarion holds with his left hand the knees 
of the medium, and with hi-; ridit hand holds the wrisi, 
the thumb, and the palm of her right hand before him at the 
height of the eyes. M. Brisson holds the left hand. Eu- 
sapia seems to call something from the direction of the win- 
dow, making gestures, and saying, " I will catch it." Then 
a little branch of privet comes and touches M. Flammarion's 
hand, apparently arriving from somewhere near the window. 
M. F. takes this branch. A moment later two spindle-tree 
branches come from behind the curtain at the height of M. 
Brisson's head and past the edge of the curtain, which is 
pulled up and back. The branches fall on the table. 

M. Brisson, all this time at Eusapia's left, is next touched 
on the hip, at a moment when the hand of the medium is 
at the height of M. Flammarion's beard. Then the chair of 
M. Brisson is pulled and pushed about. We hear distinctly, 
behind the curtain, sounds from the shaking of the round 
table, upon which is the tambourine. Certain vibrations of 
the tambourine are produced, corresponding to the move- 
ments of the round table. At this moment M. Brisson men- 
tions the fact that he has been out of touch with the foot of 
the medium for about half a second, but he is then holding 
her two thumbs about ten inches apart, and M. Flammarion 
has her right hand close to his breast. The right hand of M. 
Brisson, holding the left of Eusapia, passes behind the cur- 
tain, and M. Brisson says that he has the impression of some- 
thing like a dress-skirt puffed out against his ankle. 

Thereupon ensues new jolting and bumping of the round 


table and the tambourine, with displacement of the round 
table. (Undoubted control by MM. Flammarion and Bris- 

10.30. Clattering noises of the round table in the cabi- 
net are heard. M. Flammarion makes gestures with his 
hand, and synchronistic movements of the table and of the 
tambourine take place in the dark cabinet. 

10.35. Eusapia asks for a few minutes' rest. The sitting 
is resumed at 10.43. The violin and the bell are hurled 
with force through the cleft in the curtain (M. Brisson gives 
assurance that he holds Eusapia's left hand by the thumb, 
upon her knees, and M. Flammarion the entire right hand). 
At this moment a photograph is taken by flash-light. Cries 
and groans from Eusapia, blinded by the light. 

The sitting begins again some minutes afterward, and M. 
Jules Claretie, sitting at the left of M. Brisson, has his fin- 
gers twice touched by a hand. M. Baschet, who is standing 
away from the table, holds out a violin to the curtain: the 
violin is seized and thrown into the cabinet. He holds a 
book out to the curtain: this book is seized, but falls to the 
floor, before the curtain. 

M. Claretie presents a cigarette-holder and feels a hand 
which tries to seize it, but he resists and will not let it go. 
M. Flammarion asks him to let go of the object: the hand 
bears off the prize. A moment after, this object is thrown 
from the cleft between the two curtains against Mme. de 
Basilewska at the other end of the table. It had been both 
presented and removed at the middle of the curtain. 

At eleven o'clock Eusapia begs for a little more light. M. 
Claretie has become controller of the left in place of M. 
Brisson. He is touched on the left side. Then the round 
table is overturned while advancing toward the main table. 
M. Claretie perceives that his chair is moving backwards, 
as if pulled back ; then he is hit on the shoulder and experi- 
ences a strong pressure under the arm-pit. The curtain sud- 
denly approaches M. Claretie, brushes against him, and en- 
velops both himself and the medium. M. Claretie is then 
pinched in the cheek. M. Flammarion presents to the cur- 
tain the hand of Mme. Fourton, and the two hands are 
pinched through the curtain. 


The music-box, which is in the dark cabinet, falls on the 
table ; Mmes. Gagneur and Flammarion at the same moment 
make mention of a hand. M. Baschet presents the music- 
box to the curtain; a hand seizes it through the curtain, he 
resists, the hand pushes him away; he presents it again, 
the hand seizes it and throws it back, and the box thus 
thrown wounds M. Claretie, who is struck beneath the left 
eye. The tambourine is thrown forward upon the table 
after having remained suspended a moment above the head 
of the medium. 

At 11.15 a complete levitation of the table for seven or 
eight seconds. Absolute control by MM. Flammarion and 
Claretie. M. Flamraarion has his knee pinched by a hand. 
Next the round table is transferred to the knees of M. 
Claretie and is forced upon him in spite of all his resist- 
ance. Levitations of the table take place in full light. 
Verification of the feet The feet of one of the controllers 
are beneath, those of the other above, and those of the 
medium between the two. 

Report of M. Pallotti 

(Seance of November 

(There are present at thin glance, besides the hosts of the evening: 
M. and Mnie. Brisson, M. and Mint*. Pallotti, M. le Bocain, M. Bou- 
tigny. Mme. Fount on.) 

At the commencement of the sitting several levitations of 
the table took place, and, when I asked the spirit who was 
present if he could let me see my daughter Rosalie, I ob- 
tained an affirmative reply. I then made an agreement with 
the said spirit that a series of eight regular raps would indi- 
cate to me the moment when my dear daughter would be 
present. After some minutes of waiting, the number of 
raps agreed on was heard in the table. These raps were 
vigorous and made at fixed intervals. 

I found, at this time, that I was placed opposite to the 
medium, that is to say, facing her, at the other end of 
the table. When I asked the spirit to embrace me and 


caress me, I immediately felt an icy breath before my face, 
but yet without experiencing the least sensation of contact. 

When the medium announced the materialization of the 
spirit in these words, " E venuta, e venuta " (" She is here, 
she is here"), I distinguished over the middle of the table 
a spectral form, dim and confused, but which, little by little, 
grew brighter, and took the shape of the head of a young 
girl of the same stature as Rosalie. 

When objects, such as the music-box, violin, or the like, 
were unexpectedly brought before us, I saw very plainly the 
shape of a little hand emerging from the curtain that hung 
close by me, and which placed these different objects upon 
the table. 

I ought to declare that, during these inexplicable phe- 
nomena, the chain was not broken for a single moment: it 
would consequently have been materially impossible for one 
of us to have made use of his hands. 

I will now describe the last phenomena in which I was 
for a little while both actor and spectator. These events 
closed the seance. 

One of the company, M. Boutigny, who was affianced to 
my daughter, having left the table to give his place to one 
of the spectators, I saw him approach the curtain of which 
I have spoken, which at once gaped open by his side. I as- 
certained this fact very precisely. 

M. Boutigny then announced to us aloud that he was 
being very affectionately caressed. The medium, who was 
at this moment in an extraordinary state of agitation, kept 
saying, " Amore mio, amore mio! " (" My love, my love ! "), 
and, addressing herself to me, called to me several times in 
the following words, " Adesso vieni tul vieni tu! " (" Come 
at once, come! ") 

I hastened to take the place which M. Boutigny occupied 
near the curtain, and I was scarcely there when I felt my- 
self kissed several times. I was able for an instant to 
touch the head which was kissing me, which, however, drew 
back from the contact of my hands. 

I ought to say that, while these events were taking place, 
my eyes were carefully observing the medium as well as the 
persons who were by my side. I can therefore, boldly cer- 


tify that I was not the victim of any illusion or subterfuge, 
and that the head which I touched was the head of a real and 
unknown person. I felt myself afterwards gently stroked 
several times, upon the face and head, the neck and the 
breast, by a hand which came out from behind the curtain. 
At last I saw the portiere move aside and a little hand, very 
moist, very soft, stretched out and placed on my right hand. 
Quick as thought, I reached my left hand to this place to 
seize it ; but, after having held it closely pressed in mine for 
several seconds, it seemed to melt away between my fingers. 

Before closing, let me say, by way of additional authenti- 
cation, that M. Flammarion had the extreme kindness to have 
this seance given for my family and myself, and it therefore 
took on a very markedly private character. 

The seance having lasted from 9.20 to 11.45 P.M., we sev- 
eral times asked the medium if she felt fatigued. Eu- 
sapia said no. It was only when the last experiment took 
place, when we (myself and my family) had been caressed 
and embraced, that the medium, feeling tired, decided to 
end the sitting. 

My wife is convinced, as I am, that she embraced her 
daughter, recognizing her hair and the general appearance of 
her person. 

Report of M. Le Bocain 

(The Same Seance) 

The following are some extraordinary phenomena which 
I observed during the course of this seance and of which 
I believe I can give a report as exact as it is impartial, hav- 
ing personally taken the most minute precautions to assure 
myself of the perfect fairness of the conditions under which 
these different wonders were produced. 

I only speak, be it understood, of circumstances or ac- 
tions with which I myself was associated both as actor and 
as spectator. 

1. At the opening of the sitting and during the time that 
the table was engaged in all sorts of noisy pranks, I clearly 
felt the pressure of a hand clasping me in a friendly way 


upon the right shoulder. In order to make the matters clear, 
I ought to depose that 

a) I sat at the left of the medium and held her hand; 
that, furthermore, during the whole sitting her foot was 
placed on mine. 

b) That, with Eusapia's hand always tightly pressed in 
mine, I proved, by suddenly placing it upon her knees, at 
the very moment that the table was rising from beside us, 
that her lower limbs were in a normal position and abso- 
lutely motionless. 

c) For these different reasons, it seems to me, in fact, 
impossible that Eusapia could have made any use whatever 
of these two limbs (which happened to be placed by me) to 
execute a movement, even unconscious, that could give rise 
to the least suspicion. 

2. At a certain point in the proceedings I felt on my 
right cheek the sensation of a fondling caress. I felt very 
distinctly that it was a real hand which was touching my 
skin, and nothing else. The hand in question seemed to me 
of small size, and the skin was soft and moist. 

3. Towards the end of the seance I felt upon my back 
a gust of cold air, and at the same time I heard the curtain 
behind me slowly open. 

Then, when I turned around, very much puzzled, I per- 
ceived standing at the lower end of this kind of alcove a 
form, indistinct, it is true, but not so much so that I 
could not recognize the silhouette of a young girl whose fig- 
ure was slightly beneath the average. I ought to say here 
that my sister Rosalie was also of short stature. The 
head of this apparition was not very distinct. It seemed 
surrounded by a short of shaded aureole. The whole form 
of the statue, if I may so express myself, stood out very 
little from the dim obscurity from which it had emerged; 
that is to say, it was not very luminous. 

4. I addressed myself to the spirit in Arabic, in very 
nearly the following terms: 

"If it is really thou, Rosalie, who art in the midst of 
us, pull the hair on the back of my head three times in suc- 

About ten minutes later, and when I had almost com- 


pletely forgotten my request, I felt my hair pullo<l tl>r< 
separate times, just as I had desired. I certify this fact, 
which, besides, formed for me a most convincing truth of 
the presence of a familiar spirit close about us. 

LE BOCAIN, Illustrator f 
Rire, Pele-Mele, Chronique Amusante, etc. 

I have restricted myself to presenting here those different 
reports,* in spite of certain contradictions, and even because 
of thorn. The reports mutually supplement each other 
and form a complete whole, through the entire indeprud- 
ence of each observer. 

You see how complex the subject is, and how difficult it 
is to form a radical conviction, an absolute scientific judg- 
ment Some phenomena are incontestably true: there are 
others which are doubtful and which we may attribute to 
fraud, conscious or unconscious, and sometimes also to 
illusions of the observers. The levitation of the table, for 
example, its complete detachment from the floor under the 
action of an unknown force acting in opposition to the law 
of gravity, is a fact which cannot reasonably be contested. 

I may remark, in this connection, that the table almost 
always rises hesitatingly, after balancings and oscillations, 
while, on the contrary, when it falls back it goes straight 
down at one swoop, alighting squarely on its four feet.f 

To these eight seances I might add a ninth, which took place on the 
succeeding December 5, in the study of Prof. Richet. Nothing remark- 
able occurred, unless it was the inflation, in full light, of a window 
curtain, which was about twenty-four inches from Eusapia's foot, my 
foot and leg being between it and her. The observation was absolutely 

tTo what cause may we attribute the levitation of the table T We 
have undoubtedly not yet discovered the secret. The action of gravity 
may be counterbalanced by movement. 

You can amuse yourself, while at breakfast or dinner, by to\ 
with a knife. If you hold it vertically in your tightly closed hand", 
its weight is counterbalanced by the pressure of the hand and it 
not fall. Open your hand, still holding the knife grasped by 
thumb and index finger, and it will slide as if it were in a too large 


On the other hand, since the medium constantly seeks to 
release one hand (generally her left hand) from the control 
designed to hinder her from doing so, a certain number of the 
touches felt and of the displacements of objects may be due 
to a substitution of hands. This behavior of hers will be 
the subject of a special examination in the following chapter. 

But it would be impossible by the whole force of the hand 
to produce the violent movement of the curtain, which seems 
to be inflated by a tempestuous wind, and projected to the 
very centre of the table, forming a great hood around the 
heads of the sitters. To fling out the curtain with such 
force, it would be necessary for the medium to rise and push 
on it as hard as she could with her extended arms not 
once merely, but again and again. But how can she do this 
when she is all the while seated tranquilly in her chair ? 

These experiments place us in a special environment or 
atmosphere, on the different physical and psychical charac- 
ters of which it is difficult to form an opinion. 

At the time of the last seance, during which M. and Mme. 
Pallotti are sure of having seen, touched, and embraced their 
daughter, I saw nothing, at that moment, of this spectral 
form, although it was only a few yards from me, and al- 
though I had perceived, some moments before, the head of a 
young girl. It is true that, out of respect for their emotion, 
I did not approach their group. But I kept careful watch, 
and I perceived no one but the living. 

tube. But move the hand by a rapid see-saw movement, from left to 
right, from right to left: you will thus create a centrifugal force 
which holds the object in vertical suspension, and which may even toss 
it above your hand and project it into the air, if the movement is 
rapid enough. 

What, then, sustains the knife, annihilates its weight? Force. 
Might it not be that the influence of the experimenters seated around 
the table puts in special movement the molecules of the wood? They 
are already set in vibration by variations of temperature. These mole- 
cules are particles infinitely small which do not touch each other. 
Might not a molecular movement counterbalance the effect of gravity? 
I do not present this as an explanation, but as an illustrative suggestion 
(comme une image). 


At the seance of November 10 the noise of a sonorous 
object notified us of a displacement, a movement. We seem 
to hear the violin strings lightly touched. It is, in fact, the 
little violin on the round table, which is lifted to a height 
somewhat above that of the head of the medium, passes into 
the opening between the two curtains, and appears before us 
with the neck forward. The idea comes into my head to 
grasp this instrument during its slow passage through the 
air; but I hesitate, because I wish to see what will become 
of it. It comes as far as the middle of the table, descends, 
then falls, partly uj>on the table, partly upon the left hand 
of M. Brisson and the right hand of Mme. Fourton. 

That was one of the most accurate observations that I 
made at this seance. I did not let go of Eusapia's right 
hand for a single instant, and M. Brisson did not for a mo- 
ment let go of her left hand. 

But in the face of phenomena so incomprehensible we 
always revert to scepticism. In the seance of November 19 
we had thoroughly resolved this time not to leave any 
loophole for doubt as to the hands, to hinder every attempt 
at substitution, and to have the most complete control of each 
hand, without having our attention withdrawn from this 
object for a single moment. Eusapia has only two hands. 
She belongs to the same zoological species that we do, and ia 
neither trimanous nor quadrumanous. 

It was enough, then, that there were two of us ; that each 
one took a hand of the medium and kept hold of it between 
the thumb and the forefinger, that no possible doubt might 
arise, drew in the elbows, and held the said hand as far 
removed as possible from the axis of the medium's body and 
pressed against our own person, so as to remove the objection 
about the substitution of hands. 

That was the essential object of this seance, as far as 
concerned M. Brisson and me. He had charge of the left 


hand. I had charge of the right. I need not add that I am 
as sure of the loyalty of M. Brisson as he is sure of mine, 
and that, forewarned as we were, and holding this seance 
for the express purpose of this control, we could neither of 
us be the dupes of any attempt at fraud, so far as regards 
that occasion, at least. 

The famous medium, Home, had several times spoken to 
me of a curious experiment that he and Crookes made with 
an accordion held in one of his hands and playing all by 
itself, without the lower end being held by another hand. 
Crookes has represented this experiment by a sketch in his 
memoir upon this subject. The medium is seen holding the 
accordion with one hand in a kind of open-work cage, and 
the accordion is playing by itself. I shall give the details of 
this matter farther on. 

I tried the experiment in another way, by holding the 
accordion myself, and not letting it be touched by the me- 
dium. The feats which we had just witnessed, and which 
were performed while Eusapia had her hands securely held, 
gave me the hope of succeeding, so much the more because 
we believed that we had seen fluid hands in action. 

I, therefore, take a little new accordion, bought that even- 
ing in a bazaar, and, approaching the table and remaining in 
a standing position, I hold the accordion by one side, resting 
two fingers upon two keys, in such a way as to permit the 
air to pass in case the instrument should begin to play. 

So held, it is vertically suspended by the stretching out 
of my right hand to the height of my head, and above 
the head of the medium. We make sure that her hands 
are all the Aime tightly held and that the chain is un- 
broken. After a short wait of five or six seconds I feel 
the accordion drawn by its free end, and the bellows is im- 
mediately pushed in several times successively; and at the 
same time the music is heard. There is not tKQ least doubt 


that a hand, a pair of pincers, or what-not, has hold of the 
lower end of the instrument, I perceive very well the re- 
sistance of this prehensihle organ. All possibility of fraud 
is eliminated; for the instrument is well ahove Eusapia's 
head, her hands are firmly held, and I distinctly see the 
distention of the curtain as far as the instrument. The ac- 
cordion continues to make itself heard, and is pulled on 
so strongly that I say to the invisible power, " Well, since 
you have such a good hold on it, keep it 1 " I withdraw my 
hand, and the instrument remains as if glued to the cur- 
tain. It is no longer heard. What has become of it? I 
propose to light a candle to hunt for it. But the general 
opinion is that, since things are going so well, it is better to 
make no changes in the environment. While we are talk- 
ing, the accordion begins to play, a slight and rather in- 
significant air. In order to do that, it must be held by two 
hands. At the end of fifteen or twenty seconds it is brought 
to the middle of the table (playing all the while). The 
certainty that hands are playing it is so complete that I say 
to the Unknown, "Since you hold the accordion so well, you 
can doubtless take my hand itself." I reach out my arm 
at the height of my head, rather a little higher. The cur- 
tain inflates, and through the curtain I feel a hand (a 
pretty strong left hand) ; that is to say, three fingers and the 
thumb, and these grasp the end of my right hand. 

Let us suppose for an instant that the accordion could 
have been pulled by one of Eusapia's hands, which she had 
released, lifted up, and screened behind the curtain. It is 
a very natural hypothesis. Let us say that the two con- 
trollers on the right and on the left respectively were cheated 
by the dexterity of the medium. That is not impossible. 
But, then, that the instrument might play, our heroine would 
have had to release her two hands and leave the two con- 


trollers at loggerheads with their own hands. It is some- 
thing not to be thought of. 

Apropos of the existence of a third hand, a fluid hand, 
created on the spur of the moment, with muscles and bones 
(an hypothesis so bold that one hardly dares to express it), 
I relate here what we observed during the sitting of No- 
vember 19. 

M. Guillaume de Fontenay, with whom the experiments 
at Montfort-l'Amaury were made, in 1897, at the home of 
the Blech family, had come on purpose from the centre of 
France, with a great profusion of apparatus and of new 
processes, to try to get some photographs. The medium ap- 
peared to be enchanted with them, and toward the middle of 
the soiree said to us, " You are going to have, this evening, 
something that you did not expect, something which has 
never been accomplished by any other medium, and which 
can be photographed as an unimpeachable record." She 
then explains to us that I am to lift my hand up, while 
firmly holding hers by the wrist; that M. Sardou, while 
holding her left hand, will keep watch over it above the 
table, and that then her third hand will appear in the photo- 
graph, her fluidic hand, holding the violin near her head, 
at some distance from her right hand, behind her, and 
against the curtain. 

We wait pretty long before anything happens. At length, 
the medium trembles, sighs, recommends that we breathe 
deeply and thus aid her, and we feel, rather than see, the 
moving of the violin through the air, with a slight vibrating 
noise of the strings. Eusapia cries, " It is time, take the 
photograph, quick, don't wait, fire ! " But the apparatus 
does not work: the magnesium won't kindle. The medium 
grows impatient, still holds out, but cries that she cannot 
hold out much longer. We all vehemently clamor for the 
photograph. Nothing moves. In the darkness, which is 

needed in order that the plate in the camera shall not have to 
be veiled, M. de Fontenay does not succeed in lighting the 
magnesium, and the violin is heard to fall to the floor. 

The medium seems exhausted, groans, laments, and we 
all regret this check to the proceedings; but Eusapia de- 
clares that she can begin again, and asks us to get ready. In 
fact, at the end of five or six minutes the same phenomena 
are produced. M. de Fontenay explodes a chlorate of potas- 
sium pistol. The light is instantaneous, but feeble. It 
enables us to see Eusapia's left hand being held upon the 
table by M. Sardou's right hand, her right hand held in the 
air by my left hand, and at a distance of about twelve 
inches in the rear, at the height of one's head, the violin, 
resting vertically against the curtain. But the photograph 
gives no picture. 

Eusapia now asks for a little light (" poco di luce "). 
The small hand-lamp is lighted again, and the illumination 
is sufficient, for us to see each other distinctly, including 
the arms, the head of the medium, the curtain, etc. The 
chain is formed again. The curtain flares widely out, and 
M. Sardou is several times touched by a hand which gives 
him a good whack on the shoulder, making him bend his 
head forward toward the table. In the presence of this 
manifestation and of these sensations we have again the 
impression that there has been a hand there, a hand dif- 
ferent from those of the medium (which we continue 
carefully to hold), and from ours, because we are holding 
each other's hands in the chain. Moreover, there is no one 
near the curtain, which is plainly visible. I thereupon re- 
mark, " Since there is a hand there, let it take from me this 
violin, as it did day before yesterday." I take the violin by 
the handle and hold it out to the curtain. It is at once 
taken and lifted, then falls to the floor. I do not for a mo- 
ment let go the hand of the medium. Yet I grasp this hand 


with my right hand, for a moment, in order to pick up with 
my left the violin that has fallen near me. As I stoop 
down to the floor, I feel an icy breath upon my hand, but 
nothing more. I take the violin and put it on the table; 
then I take again with my left hand the hand of the medium, 
and, seizing the violin with my right, I hold it out again 
to the curtain. But Mme. Brisson, peculiarly incredulous, 
asks me to let her take it herself. She does so, holds it out 
to the curtain, and the instrument is snatched from her, in 
spite of all the efforts that she makes to retain it. Every- 
body declares they saw very distinctly this time. 

The hands of the medium have not been let go a single 

It seems as if this experiment, made under these condi- 
tions, in sufficient light, ought to leave no doubt about the 
existence of a third hand of the medium which acts in obedi- 
ence to her will. And yet ! 

During this same soiree of November 19 I ask that the 
violin, which has fallen to the floor, be brought again upon 
the table. We keep holding carefully the medium's hands, 
M. Sardou her left hand and I her right. Eusapia, wish- 
ing to give still more security, more certainty, proposes that 
I take her two hands, the right as I am holding it, and her 
left wrist in my right hand, her left hand always being held 
by M. Sardou, the whole show of hands taking place on the 
table. A noise is heard. The violin is brought on, passes 
above our hands, thus criss-crossed, and is laid down, farther 
on, in the middle of the table. A candle is lighted, and the 
position of our hands is ascertained. They have not moved. 
Some time after this phenomena, in the dim light, we all 
saw will-o'-the-wisps shining in the cabinet. They were 
visible through the cleft in the curtains, which at that time 
was rather wide. For my part, I saw three of them, the 
first very brilliant, the others less intense. They were not 


tremulous, nor did they stir in the least, and remained in 
view scarcely more than a second. 

M. Antoniadi having remarked that he is not always sure 
of holding her left hand, Eusapia says to me in a flush of 
passion, " Since he is not sure, take my two hands your- 
self again." I already hold the right, and am absolutely 
certain of it. I thereupon take her left wrist in my right 
hand, M. A. declaring that he will take care of the fingers. 
In this position, Eusapia's two hands being thus held above 
the table, a cushion, which is at my right upon the table, 
having been forcibly thrown there some moments before, is 
seized and thrown over the sofa, brushing my forehead on 
the left. Those who sit at the table and form the chain af- 
firm that the hands of the chain have not lost touch with each 

Here is another circumstance recorded in the notes of 
Mme. Flammarion: 

We were almost in complete darkness, the lamp, re- 
moved as far as possible from Eusapia, having only the 
dim glow of a night-lamp. Eusapia was seated at the ex- 
periment table, between MM. Brisson and Pallotti, who 
were holding her two hands, and almost facing this lamp. 

Mme. Brisson and I were seated some yards distant from 
Eusapia, one of us on the side and the other in the middle 
of the salon, Eusapia facing us, while we had our backs 
turned to the light. This allowed us to distinguish well 
enough everything that passed before us. 

Up to the moment when the event that I am going to re- 
late took place, Mme. Brisson had remained almost as in- 
credulous as I, apropos of the phenomena, and she had just 
been expressing to me in a low tone her regret at not having 
yet seen anything herself, when, all of a sudden, the curtain 
behind Eusapia began to shake and move gracefully back, as 
if lifted by an invisible curtain band, and what do I see ? 
The little table on three feet, and leaping (apparently in 
high spirits) over the floor, at the height of about eight 


inches, while the gilded tambourine is in its turn leaping 
gayly at the same height above the table, and noisily tinkling 
its bells. 

Stupefied with wonder, quick as I can I pull Mme. Bris- 
son to my side, and, pointing with my finger at what is 
taking place, " Look ! " said I. 

And then the table and the tambourine begin their carpet- 
dance again in perfect unison, one of them falling for- 
cibly upon the floor and the other upon the table. Mine. 
Brisson and I could not help bursting out into laughter ; for, 
indeed, it was too funny! A sylph could not have been 
more amusing. 

Eusapia had not turned around. She was seen seated; 
and her hands, placed before her, were held by the two con- 
trollers. Even if she had been able to free both her hands, 
she would not have been able to take hold of the round 
table and tambourine, except by turning around; and the 
two ladies saw them leaping about all alone. 

I observe to Eusapia that she must be very tired, that the 
seance has lasted over two hours and has yielded extraor- 
dinary results, and that it is perhaps time to end it. She 
replies that she desires to continue still a little longer, and 
that there will be new phenomena. We accept with pleas- 
ure, and sit down and wait. 

Then she lays her head on my shoulder, takes my entire 
right arm, including the hand, and putting my leg between 
hers, and my feet between her feet, she held me very tight. 
Then she begins to rub the carpet, drawing my feet along 
with hers, and squeezing me tighter than before. Then she 
cries, " Spetta! spetta!" ("Look! look!"); then, " Vienil 
vieni!" ("Come! come!") She invites M. Pallotti to 
take a place behind his wife and see what will happen. I 
must add that both of them had been earnestly asking, for 
some minutes, if they might see and embrace their daughter, 
as they had done at Rome. 


After a new nervous effort on the part of Eusapia, and 
a kind of convulsion accompanied by groans, complaints, and 
cries, there was a great movement of the curtain. Several 
times I see the head of a young girl bowing before me, with 
high-arched forehead and with long hair. 

She bows three times, and shows her dark profile against 
the window. A moment after we hear sounds from M. and 
Mine. Pallotti. They are covering with kisses the face of 
a being invisible to us, saying to her with passionate af- 
fection, " Rosa, Rosa, my dear, my Rosalie," etc. They 
say they felt between their hands the face and the hair of 
their daughter. 

My impression was that there was really there a fluidic 
being. I did not touch it. The grief of the parents, revived 
and consoled at the same time, seemed to me so worthy of 
respect that I did not approach them. But, as to the iden- 
tity of the spectral being, I believed it to be a sentimental 
illusion of theirs. 

I come now to the strangest circumstances of all, the most 
incomprehensible, the most incredible, of any that we expe- 
rienced in our seances. 

On November 21 M. Jules Bois presents a book before the 
curtain at about the height of a man standing upright. The 
salon is dimly lighted by a little lamp with a shade, set 
pretty well to one side. Yet objects are seen with distinct- 

An invisible hand behind the curtain seizes the book. 
Then all the observers see it disappear as if it had passed 
through the curtain. It is not seen to fall before the curtain. 
It is an octavo, rather slender, bound in red, which I have 
just taken from my library. 

Now Mme. Flammarion, almost as sceptical as M. Bas- 
chet about these phenomena, had glided past the window to 
the rear of the curtain, in order to observe carefully what 


was passing. She hoped to detect a movement of the 
medium's arm, and to unmask her, in spite of the courtesy 
she owed her as her hostess. She saw very plainly Eu- 
sapia's head, motionless before the mirror which reflected the 

Suddenly the book appears to her, it having passed 
through the curtain, upheld in the air, without hands or 
arms, for a space of one or two seconds. Then she sees it 
fall down. She cries, " Oh ! the book : it has just passed 
through the curtain ! " and, pale and stupefied with wonder, 
she abruptly retires among the observers. 

The entire hither side of the curtain was plainly visible, 
because the left portion of the left-hand curtain had been 
loosened from its rod by the weight of a person who had sat 
down on the sofa where the lower part of the curtain had 
been accidentally placed; and because a large opening had 
been made fronting the mirror which filled the entire wall 
of the farther end of the salon, a mirror that reflected the 
light of the little lamp. 

If such an event had really taken place, we should be 
forced to admit that the book went through the curtain with- 
out any opening, for the tissue of the fabric is wholly in- 
tact; and we cannot suppose for a single moment that it 
passed through at the side, the book having been held out 
about the middle,-^- that is to say, about twenty-four inches 
from each side of the curtain, the breadth of which is four 

Nevertheless, this book was seen by Mme. Flammarion, 
who was looking behind the curtain; and it disappeared 
from the eyes of the persons who were in front, notably M. 
Baschet, M. Brisson, M. J. Bois, Mme. Fourton and myself. 
We were not expecting this miracle in any way; we were 
stupefied by it ; we asked what had become of the book, and 
it seemed as if it had fallen behind the curtain. 


Collective hallucination? But we were all in cool blood, 
entirely self-possessed. 

If Eusapia had been able to adroitly slip her hand around 
and seize the book through the portiere, the bare outline of 
the book would not have been seen, but a protuberance of 
the portiere. 

How great a value the sight of this thing passing through 
a portiere would have as a scientific datum, if one were only 
sure of the absolute honesty of the medium, if, indeed, 
this medium were a man of science, a physicist, a chemist, 
an astronomer, whose scientific integrity would be above sus- 
picion ! The mere fact of the possibility of fraud takes 
away ninety-nine one-hundredths of the worth of the obser- 
vation, and makes it necessary for us to see it a hundred 
times before being sure. The conditions of certainty ought 
to be understood by all investigators, and it is curious to 
hear intelligent persons express surprise at our doubts, and 
at the strict scientific obligation we are under to lay down 
these conditions. In order to be sure of abnormalities like 
these levitations, for example, we must make sure of them 
a hundred times over; not see them once, but a hundred 

It seems to us impossible that matter could pass through 
matter. You place for example a stone upon a napkin. If 
one should tell you that he has found it under the napkin, 
without any break in the continuity of the tissue, you would 
not believe him. However, I take a piece of ice, weighing 
say two pounds, and place it upon a napkin; I place both 
upon a strainer v in the oven; the piece of ice melts, passes 
through the napkin, and falls drop by drop into a basin. I 
put the whole thing into a freezing machine, the melted 
water congeals again; the piece of ice weighing two pounds 
has passed through the napkin. 

It is very simple, you think. Yes, it is simple because 

we understand it. But, of course, this is not the same case 
as that of the book. Yet, after all, it is matter passing 
through matter, after a transformation of its physical condi- 

We might seek explanations, invoke the hypotheses of the 
fourth dimension, or discuss the non-Euclidian geometry. 
It seems to me more simple, however, to think that, on the 
one hand, these experiments are not yet sufficient for us to 
make an absolute affirmation, and that, on the other hand, 
our ignorance of everything is formidable and forbids us 
to deny anything. 

The phenomena of which I am speaking are so extraor- 
dinary that one is led to doubt them, even when one feels 
assured that he has seen them. Thus, for example, I no- 
ticed that M. Rene Baschet my learned friend, present 
editor of Illustration affirmed before us all, during the 
seance and afterward, that he saw with his own eyes, under 
the table, a head like that of a young girl of about twelve 
years of age, together with the bust. This head sank down 
vertically while he was looking at it and disappeared. He 
made the affirmation on the 21st, repeated it on the 22d at a 
theatre where we met, and on the 25th again at his home. 
Some time after, M. Baschet was convinced that he had been 
deceived, that he had been the dupe of an illusion. That 
is also possible. I was looking at the same time, as well as 
other persons, and we did not see anything. 

It is then very human, when we are thinking, some days 
later, of these curious things, for us to suspect ourselves. 

But there are prejudices less explicable. Thus, for ex- 
ample, at the seance of November 28 a distinguished engi- 
neer, M. L., absolutely refused to admit the levitation of 
the table, in spite of the evidence. Of this my readers may 
judge for themselves. Here is a note which I extract from 
my reports: 


M. L. tells me that the medium lifts the table with her 
feet, while resting her hands upon it. I ask Eusapia to draw 
back her feet under her chair. The table is lifted. 

After this second levitation, M. L. declares that he is not 
satisfied (although neither of the feet of the medium is un- 
der a foot of the table), and that we must begin the experi- 
ment again, without having her legs touched at any point. 
The medium then proposes that her legs be fastened to those 
of M. L. A third levitation takes place, after the left leg 
(the incriminated one) of the medium has been bound to 
the left leg of M. L. 

This gentleman then declares that the hypotheses he has 
made, in order to explain the phenomenon, are null and 
void, but that there must be, all the same, a trick in the 
thing, because he does not believe in the supernatural. 

Neither do I believe in the supernatural. And yet there 
is no trick. 

This manner of reasoning, rather common, does not seem 
to me scientific. It is to claim that we know the limits of 
the possible and of the impossible. 

People who deny that the earth moves reason in just this 
way. That which is contrary to common sense is not im- 
possible. Common sense is the average state of popular 
knowledge; that is to say, of general ignorance. 

A man acquainted with the history of the sciences, and 
who reasons calmly, cannot succeed in understanding 
the ostracism to which certain sceptics subject unexplained 
phenomena. " It is impossible," they think. This fa- 
mous common sense on which they plume themselves 
is nothing after all, let me say, but common opinion, which 
accepts habitual facts without comprehending them, and 
which varies from time to time. What man of good sense 
would formerly have admitted that we should one day be 
able to photograph the skeleton of a living being, or store 
up the voice in a phonograph, or determine the chemical 
composition of an inaccessible star? What was science a 


hundred years ago, two hundred years, three hundred? 
Look at astronomy five hundred years ago, and physiology, 
and medicine, and natural philosophy, and chemistry. In 
five hundred years, in a thousand years, in two thousand 
years, what will these sciences of ours be? And in a hun- 
dred thousand years? Yes, in a hundred thousand years, 
what will human intelligence be ? Our actual condition will 
be to that what the knowledge of a dog is to that of a cul- 
tivated man; that is to say, there is no possible comparison. 

We smile to-day at the science of learned men of the 
time of Copernicus or Christopher Columbus or Ambroise 
Pare, and we forget that, in a few centuries, savants will 
estimate us in the same fashion. There are properties of 
matter which are completely hidden from us, and humanity 
is endowed with faculties still unknown to us. We only 
advance very slowly in the knowledge of things. 

The critics do not always give proof that they possess a 
very compact logical power. You speak to them of facts 
proved by centuries of testimony. They challenge the value 
of popular testimony, and declare that these uncultivated 
folks, these petty merchants, these manufacturers, these la- 
borers, these peasants, are incapable of observing with any 

Some days after, you cite the savants, men whose compe- 
tence has been proved in the objective sciences of observa- 
tion, which attest these very facts, and you hear the sneerers 
answer that those savants are competent witnesses in their 
special lines of study and work, but in nothing apart from 

So, after this fashion, all testimony is refused. They 
declare that the thing, being impossible, cannot have been 
observed at all. 

Of course there is room for a good deal of analysis in 
discussing the claims of human testimony. But, if we sup- 


press every piece of testimony, what will there be left? 
our native ignorance. 

But, to tell the truth, there are some of these negative 
gentry who are sure of everything, and who impose their 
aphorisms upon us with the authority of a czar giving out 
his ukase or edict. 

From these different experiments with Eusapia Paladino, 
including those described in the first and second chapters, 
the impression is left that the phenomena observed are, to a 
great extent, real and undeniable; that a certain number 
may be produced by fraud ; but that, in fact, the subject is 
very complex. Again, certain movements simply belong to 
the material order, while others belong at once to the 
physical order and the psychical order. All this study is 
vastly more complicated than people in general have any 
idea of. I am going to pass summarily in review other 
experiments made by the same medium, and shall after- 
wards devote a special chapter to the examination of frauds 
and mystifications. 

Let us look, first, at other achievements of Eusapia, and 
select from them whatever they also have to impart in the 
way of instruction or caution. 



The medium, whose marvellous seance performances we 
have been describing has been the subject of a long series 
of observations by eminent and careful experimenters. Her 
endowments are indeed exceptional. When you study with 
.Eusapia, the comparison of her powers with those of ordi- 
nary cases makes you think of the difference between a fine 
electrical machine operated under good atmospheric condi- 
tions and a bad one operated on a rainy day. You see more 
with her in one hour than in a host of faulty trials with 
other mediums. 

Our study of these unknown forces will progress rapidly 
if, in place of limiting the results obtained to one or two 
groups, such as those which precede, we examine the totality 
of the observations made in the seances of this medium. 
My readers can then compare them with the preceding ones ; 
they can jiidge, they can make their own estimates. 

The documents which I am now going to print are all 
borrowed from the Annales des sciences psychiques and from 
the valuable collection of M. Albert de Rpchas upon The Ex- 
ternalization of Motivity. 

A few words, first, about the debuts of Eusapia in her me- 
diumistic career. 

Professor Chiaia, of Naples, to whom I owe it that I 
was able to receive Eusapia at my house and obtain the ex- 
periments reported above, was the first to bring her gifts into 
public notice. He first published on the 9th of August, 



1888, in a journal issued at Rome, the following letter 
addressed to Professor Lombroso: 

Dear Sir, In your article, The Influence of Civilization 
upon Genius (which has incontestable beauties of style and 
of logic), I noticed a very happy paragraph. It seems to me 
to sum up the scientific movement (starting from the time 
when man first invented that head-breaking thing called an 
alphabet) down to our own day. This paragraph reads aa 
follows : 

" Every generation is prematurely ready for discoveries 
which it never sees born, since it does not perceive its own 
incapacity and the means it lacks for making further dis- 
coveries. The repetition of any one manifestation, by im- 
pressing itself upon our brains, prepares our minds and 
renders them less and less incapable of discovering the laws 
to which this manifestation is amenable. Twenty or thirty 
years are enough to make the whole world admire a dis- 
covery which was treated as madness at the moment when it 
was made. Even at the present day academic bodies laugh 
at hypnotism and at homoeopathy. Who knows whether my 
friends and I, who laugh at Spiritualism, are not in error, 
just as hypnotized persons are ? Thanks to the illusion 
which surrounds us, we may be incapable of seeing that we 
deceive ourselves; and, like many persons of unsound mind 
who stubbornly oppose the truth, we laugh at those who are 
not of our way of thinking." 

Struck by this keen thought, which by chance I find 
adapted to a certain matter with which I have been occu- 
pied for some time, I joyfully accept it, without abatement, 
without any comment which might change its sense; and, 
confining myself to the fine old rules of chivalry, I make use 
of it as a challenge. The consequences of this challenge 
will neither be dangerous nor bloody: we shall fight fairly; 
and, whatever may be the results of the encounter, whether 
I succumb or whether I make my opponent yield, it will 
always be in a friendly way. The result will tend to the 
improvement of one of the two adversaries and will be in 
every way useful to the great cause of truth. 


There is much talk nowadays of a special malady which 
is found in the human organism. We notice it every day; 
but we are ignorant of its cause and know not what to call 
it. The cry is raised that it be subjected to the examina- 
tion of contemporary science; but science, in reply, only 
meets the request with the mocking ironical smile of a 
Pyrrhus, for the precise reason (as you say) that the time 
is not yet ripe. 

But the author of the paragraph I have quoted above, of 
course did not write it merely for the pleasure of writing. 
It seems to me, on the contrary, that he would not smile dis- 
dainfully if he were invited to observe a special case that 
is worthy to attract the attention and to seriously occupy 
the mind of a Lombroso. The case I allude to is that of an 
invalid woman who belongs to the humblest class of society. 
She is nearly thirty years old and very ignorant ; her look is 
neither fascinating nor endowed with the power which mod- 
ern criminologists call irresistible; but, when she wishes, be 
it by day or by night, she can divert a curious group for an 
hour or so with the most surprising phenomena. Either 
bound to a seat or firmly held by the hands of the curious, she 
attracts to her the articles of furniture which surround her, 
lifts them up, holds them suspended in air like Mahomet's 
coffin, and makes them come down again with undulatory 
movements, as if they were obeying her will. She increases 
their weight or lessens it according to her pleasure. She raps 
or taps upon the walls, the ceiling, the floor, with fine rhythm 
and cadence. In response to the requests of the spectators, 
something like flashes of electricity shoot forth from her 
body, and envelop her or enwrap the spectators of these mar- 
vellous scenes. She draws upon cards that you hold out 
everything that you want figures, signatures, numbers, 
sentences by just stretching out her hand toward the indi- 
cated place. If you place in the corner of the room a vessel 
containing a layer of soft clay, you find after some moments 
the imprint in it of a small or a large hand, the image of 
a face (front view or profile), from which a plaster cast can 
be taken. In this way, portraits of a face taken at differ- 


ent angles have been preserved, and those who desire so to do 
can thus make serious and important studies.* 

This woman rises in the air, no matter what bands tie 
her down. She seems to lie upon the empty air as on a 
couch, contrary to all the laws of gravity ; she plays on mu- 
sical instruments organs, bells, tambourines as if they 
had been touched by her hands or moved by the breath of 
invisible gnomes. 

You will call that a particular case of hypnotism; you 
will say that this sick woman is a fakir in petticoats, that 
you would shut her up in a hospital. Let me beg of you, most 
eminent professor, not to shift the argument. As is well 
known, hypnotism only causes a momentary illusion; after 
the seance, everything takes its original form. But here 
the case is different. During the days which followed these 
marvellous scenes there remained traces and records worthy 
of consideration. 

What do you think of that? 

But allow me to continue. This woman, at times, can in- 
crease her stature by more than four inches. She is like 
an india-rubber doll, like an automaton of a new kind; she 
takes strange forms. How many legs and arms has she ? 
We do not know. While her limbs are being held by incred- 
ulous spectators, we see other limbs coming into view, with- 
out knowing where they come from. Her shoes are too small 
to fit these witch-feet of her, and this particular circum- 
stance gives rise to the suspicion of the intervention of 
mysterious power. 

Don't laugh when I say " gives rise to the suspicion/' 
I affirm nothing ; you will have time to laugh presently. 

When this woman is bound, a third arm is seen to appear, 
and nobody knows where it comes from. Then follows a 
long series of droll teasing tricks. She abstracts bonnets, 
watches, money, rings, pins, and produces them again with 
great adroitness and gayety; she takes coats and waistcoats, 
pulls off boots, brushes hats and puts them back upon the 
heads of those to whom they belong, curls and strokes mus- 
taches, and occasionally hits you with a fist, for she also has 

* M. Chiaia has sent me photographs of these prints. I reproduce 
eome of them here (PI. VII). 



fits of ill-temper. I said a fist, because it is always a clumsy 
and callous hand that strikes the blow. It has been noticed 
that the hand of the sorceress is small. She has large finger- 
nails; has a moist skin, the temperature of which varies 
from the natural warmth of the body to the icy chill of a 
corpse the touch of which makes you shiver; she allows 
herself to be handled, pinched, observed ; and ends by rising 
into the air, remaining suspended there with no visible 
means of support, like one of those plump wooden hands 
hung out over the sidewalk as a sign at the shops of the 
glove merchants. 

I swear to you that I emerge with a very calm spirit from 
the cave of this Circe. Freed from her enchantments, I 
pass all my impressions in review, and end in scepticism, 
although the testimony of my senses assures me that I have 
not been the sport of an error or of an illusion. 

All these extraordinary manoeuvres cannot be attributed to 
prestidigitation. We ought to be on our guard against 
every kind of trickery, and make a scrupulous investigation 
in order to forestall mendacity or fraud. 

But the test sometimes fails ; the facts do not always meet 
the demands of the eager and restless spectators. This is 
one more mystery to explain, and proves that the individual 
herself who works these wonders is not their sole arbiter. 
Undoubtedly, she possesses the exclusive power of produc- 
ing these portentous feats; but they cannot materialize 
except with the co-operation of an unknown agent, some 
deus ex machina. 

From all this two things result; namely, the great diffi- 
culty there is in examining the true inwardness of this stupe- 
fying piece of charlatanry, and the necessity of making a 
series of experiments in order to get together enough of 
them to illuminate the dark intellects of the dupes and to 
overcome the obstinacy of the wranglers. 

Now you see my challenge. If you have not written the 
paragraph cited above simply for the pleasure of writing 
it; if you have the true love of science; if you are without 
prejudices, you, the first alienist in Italy, please have 
the kindness to take the field, and persuade yourself that you 
are going to measure swords with a worthy adversary. 


When you can take a week's vacation, leave your beloved 
studies, and, instead of going into the country, show me a 
place where we can meet. Choose the time yourself. 

You are to have a room into which you will enter alone 
before the experiment; there you will arrange the furniture 
and other objects just as you wish; you will lock the door 
with a key. I believe it would be useless to present the lady 
to you in the costume worn in the Garden of Eden, because 
this new Eve is incapable of retaliating upon the serpent 
and of seducing you. 

Four gentlemen will be our seconds, as is fitting in all 
knightly encounters; you will choose two, and I will bring 
the other two. 

No' easier conditions were ever drawn up by the Knights 
of the Round Table. It is evident that, if the experiment 
does not succeed, I b'.iall be able to accuse only the harsh 
decrees of destiny ; you will consider me but as a man suffer- 
ing from hallucination, who longs to be cured of his extrava- 
gances. But, if success crowns our efforts, your loyalty will 
impose upon you the duty of writing an article, in which, 
without circumlocution, reticence, or error, you will attest 
the reality of the mysterious phenomena and promise to in- 
vestigate their causes. 

If you decline this meeting, please explain to me your 
sentence, ' The time is not yet ripe-." Undoubtedly, that 
might apply to common intellects, but not to a Lombroso, to 
whom is addressed this advice of Dante : " Honor ought to 
close the lips of falsehood with truth." 

Yours very devotedly and respectfully, 


M. Lombroso did not at once accept this eloquent and 
witty challenge. However, we shall presently find that 
learned professor himself experimenting. In the mean time 
read what M. de Rochas tells us of Eusapia's youth : 

Her first mediumistic manifestations began at the age 
of puberty, when she was about thirteen or fourteen years 
eld. This coincidence is found in almost all the cases 


in which the singular power of producing movements at a 
distance has been observed. 

At this epoch of her life it was remarked that the Spirit- 
ualistic seances to which she was invited succeeded much 
better when she was seated at the table. But they tired 
and bored her, and she refrained from taking part in them 
for eight or nine years. 

It was only in her twenty-second or twenty-third year 
that the Spiritualistic education of Eusapia began. It was 
directed by an ardent Spiritualist, M. Damiani. It was 
then that the personality of John King appeared, a spirit 
who took possession of her when she was in the trance state.* 

This John King is said to be the brother of Crookes's 
Katie King, and to have been Eusapia's father in another 
existence. It is John who speaks when Eusapia is in her 
trance ; when he speaks of her, he calls her " my daughter," 
and gives advice about the care of her person and life. M. 
Ochorowicz thinks this John is a personality created in the 
spirit of Eusapia by the union of a certain number of impres- 
sions collected in the different psychic environments in 
which her life has been passed. This would be almost the 
identical explanation for the personalities suggested by the 
hypnotists, and for the variations of personality observed by 
MM. Azam, Bourru, and Burot, et al. 

Some have thought they noticed that Eusapia prepared 
herself, consciously or unconsciously, at the seance, by di- 
minishing her respiration, a very singular thing. At the 
same time, her pulse gradually rises from 88 to 120 pulsa- 
tions a minute. Is this a practice analogous to that which 
the fakirs of India employ, or a simple effect of the emotion 
which, before every seance, Eusapia experiences ? a fact 
which has a strong tendency to convince the sitters, but 
is never sure of the production of the phenomena. 

Eusapia is not hypnotized; she enters of herself into the 
trance state when she becomes a link in the chain of hands. 

She begins to sigh deeply, then yawns and hiccoughs. A 
series of varied expressions passes over her face. Sometimes 

* The word "trance " has been given to the peculiar state into which 
mediums fall when they lose the consciousness of their environment. 
It is a kind of somnambulistic sleep. 


CO H t a f ( . 


it takes on a demoniacal look, accompanied by a fitful laugh 
very much like that which Gounod gives to Mephistophelea 
in the opera of Faust, and which almost always precedes an 
important phenomenon. Sometimes her face flushes; the 
eyes become brilliant and liquid, and are opened wide. The 
smile and the motions are the mark of the erotic ecstasy. 
She says " mio caro" ("my dear"), leans her head upon 
the shoulder of her neighbor, and courts caresses when she 
believes that he is sympathetic. It is at this point that phe- 
nomena are produced, the success of which causes her agree- 
able and even voluptuous thrills. During this time her 
legs and her arms are in a state of marked tension, almost 
rigid, or even undergo convulsive contractions. Sometimes 
a tremor goes through her entire body. 

To these states of nervous super-activity succeeds a period 
of depression characterized by an almost corpse-like paleness 
of the face (which is frequently covered with perspiration) 
and the almost complete inertia of her limbs. If she lifts 
her hand, it falls back of its own weight. 
. During the trance her eyes are turned up, and only the 
white is visible. Her presence of mind and her general 
consciousness are diminished or not at all in evidence. She 
gives no reply, or, if she does, her reply is retarded by ques- 
tions. Eusapia has no recollection of what has taken place 
during the seances, except for states of mind bordering close 
on those of her normal state; and, consequently, they only 
relate, as a general thing, to phenomena of slight intensity. 

In order to aid in the manifestations, she frequently asks 
that her force be increased by putting one more person in the 
chain. It has frequently happened to her to address a sym- 
pathetic spectator, to take his fingers and press them as if 
to draw something out of them, then push them abruptly 
away, saying that she has enough force. 

In proportion as her trance increases, her sensibility to 
light increases. A sudden light causes difficulty in her 
breathing, rapid beatings of the heart, an hysterical feeling, 
general irritation of the nerves, pain in the head and eyes, 
and a trembling of the whole body, with convulsions, ex- 
cept when she herself asks for light (a thing which fre- 
quently happens to her when there are interesting verifica- 


tions to be made upon the subject of displaced objects), for 
then her attention is strongly called in. other directions. 

She is in constant motion during the active period of the 
seances. These movements may be attributed to the hys- 
terical crises which then agitate her; but they appear to be 
necessary to the production of the phenomena. Every time 
that a movement is being caused at a distance, she imitates 
it, either with her hands or with her feet, and by developing 
a much stronger force than would be necessary for producing 
the movement by contact. 

Here is what she herself says of her impressions when 
she wishes to produce a movement at a distance. She sud- 
denly experiences an ardent desire to produce the phenomena; 
then she has a feeling of numbness and the goose-flesh sensa- 
tion in her fingers; these sensations keep increasing; at the 
same time she feels in the inferior portion of the vertebral 
column the flowing of a current which rapidly extends into 
her arm as far as her elbow, where it is gently arrested. It 
is at this point that the phenomenon takes place. 

During and after the levitations of the tables she has a 
feeling of pain in her knees ; during and after other phenom- 
ena, in her elbows and all through her arms. 

It was only in the end of February, 1891, that Professor 
Lombroso, whose curiosity had finally been strongly excited, 
decided to come to Naples to examine these curious mani- 
festations about which everybody in Italy was speaking. 
The following reports by M. Ciolfi were published apropos 
of this visit.* 

First Seance 

A large room, selected on the first floor by these gentlemen, 
had been put at our disposal. M. Lombroso began by care- 
fully examining the medium, after which we took places 
around a gaming table. Mme. Paladino sat at one end; at 
her left, MM. Lombroso and Gigli ; I faced the medium, be- 
tween MM. Gigli and Vizioli; then came MM. Ascensi and 

* Annalea des sciences psychiques, 181, p. 326. 


Tamburini, who closed the circle, the last named at the 
right of the medium and in contact with her. 

The room was lighted by candles placed upon a table be- 
hind Mme. Paladino. MM. Tamburini and Lombroso each 
held a hand of the medium. Their knees touched hers, at a 
certain distance from the feet of the table ; and her feet were 
under theirs. 

After a rather long wait the table began to move, slowly 
at first, a matter explained by the scepticism, not to say 
the positively hostile spirit, of those who were this night 
in a seance circle for the first time. Then, little by little, 
the movements increased in intensity. M. Lombroso proved 
the levitation of the table, and estimated at twelve or fifteen 
pounds the resistance to the pressure which he had to make 
with his hands in order to overcome that levitation. 

This phenomenon of a heavy body sustained in the air, 
off its centre of gravity and resisting a pressure of twelve or 
fifteen pounds, very much surprised and astonished the 
learned gentlemen, who attributed it to the action of an 
unknown magnetic force. 

At my request, taps and scratch ings were heard in the 
table. This was new cause for astonishment, and led the gen- 
tlemen to themselves call for the putting out of the candles in 
order to ascertain whether the intensity of the noises would 
be increased, as had been stated. All remained seated and 
in contact. 

In a dim light which did not hinder the most careful 
surveillance, violent blows were first heard at the middle 
point of the table. Then a bell placed upon a round table, 
at the distance of a yard to the left of the medium (in such 
a way that she was placed behind and to the right of M. 
Lombroso), rose into the air, and went tinkling over the 
heads of the company, describing a circle around our table, 
where it finally came to rest. 

In the midst of the expressions of deep amazement which 
this unexpected phenomenon drew forth, M. Lombroso showed 
a strong desire to hear and to prove it again. Whereupon 
the little bell began to sound, and again made the tour of the 
table, redoubling its strokes upon it, to such a degree that 
M. Ascensi, divided between astonishment and the fear of 


having his fingers broken (the bell weighed fully ten 
ounces), hastened to rise and go and seat himself on a sofa 
behind me. 

I kept insisting that we had to do with an intelligent 
force, a matter that he persistently denied, and that con- 
sequently there was nothing to fear. But M. Ascensi re- 
fused, under any circumstances, to take his place again at 
the table. 

I called attention to the fact that the circle was broken, 
since one of the experimenters had left, and that, under 
penalty of no longer being able to observe the phenom- 
ena in a cool judicious spirit, it would be necessary that he 
should at least keep silent and motionless. M. Ascensi was 
very willing to pledge himself to that. 

The light was extinguished, and the experiments began 
again. While, in response to a unanimous wish, the little bell 
was beginning again its tinklings and its mysterious aerial 
circuits, M. Ascensi, taking his cue, unknown to us, from M. 
Tamburini, went (unperceived, owing to the darkness), and 
stood at the right of the medium, and at once with a single 
scratch lighted a match, so successfully, as he declared, that 
he could see the little bell, while it was vibrating in the air, 
suddenly fall upon a bed about six feet and a half behind 
Mme. Paladino. 

I will not attempt to depict for you the amazement of the 
learned body, the most striking manifestation of which was 
a rapid exchange of questions and comments upon this 
strange occurrence. 

After some remarks I made about the intervention of M. 
Ascensi, who seemed likely to seriously trouble the psychic 
condition of the medium, the darkness was turned on again, 
so to speak, in order to continue the experiments. 

At first it was a little work-table, small, but heavy, that 
moved about. It was placed at the left of Mme. Eusapia, 
and it was upon it that the little bell was placed at the be- 
ginning of the seance. This small piece of furniture struck 
against the chair on which M. Lombroso was seated, and 
tried to hoist itself up on our table. 

In the presence of this new phenomenon, M. Vizioli gave 
up his place at our table to M. Ascensi and went to stand 


between the work-table and Mme. Eusapia, to whom he 
turned his back. At least he said he did all this, for we 
could not see him on account of the darkness. He took the 
little table between his two hands and tried to hold it ; but, 
in spite of his efforts, it released itself and went rolling over 
the floor. 

An important point to note is that, although MM. Lom- 
broso and Tamburini had not for a moment let go of the 
hands of Mme. Paladino, Professor Vizioli announced that 
he felt a pinch in the back. General hilarity followed this 

M. Lombroso stated that he had felt his chair lifted up 
so that he was compelled to remain standing for some time, 
after which his chair had been so placed as to permit him to 
sit down again. 

He also experienced twitches upon his clothes. Tlu-n he 
and M. Tamburini felt the touches of an invisible hand upu 
their cheeks and fingers. 

M. Lombroso, especially struck with the two facts of the 
work-table and the little bell, judged them of sufficient impor- 
tance for him to put off till Tuesday his departure from 
Naples, which had been first fixed for Monday. 

Upon his request I promised a new seance, on Monday, 
at the Hotel de Geneve. 

Second Seance 

At eight o'clock in the evening I arrived at the Hotel de 
Geneve, accompanied by the medium, Eusapia Paladino. 
We were received under the colonnade by MM. Lombroso, 
Tamburini, Ascensi, and several other persons whom they 
had invited; namely Professors Gigli, Limoncelli, Vizioli, 
and Bianchi (superintendent of the insane asylum at Sales), 
Dr. Penta, and a young nephew of M. Lombroso, who lives 
at Naples. 

After the customary introductions, we were asked to go 
up to the highest story in the house, where we were intro- 
duced into a very large room with an alcove. Curtains, or 
portieres, were let down across the front of the alcove. Be- 
hind the curtains at a distance of about three feet and a half, 


measured by MM. Lombroso and Tamburini, there was 
placed, in this alcove, a round table, with a porcelain salver 
filled with flour, in the hope of obtaining face-imprints in it. 
The alcove also contained a tin trumpet, writing-paper, and 
a sealed envelope containing a sheet of white paper, to see 
if we could not get direct writing on it. 

The gentlemen inspected the alcove with extreme care, in 
order to assure themselves that there was nothing there of a 
fixed-up, suspicious nature. 

Mine. Paladino sat down at the table, a little less than two 
feet from the alcove curtains, turning her back to them. 
Then, at her request, she had her body and her feet tied to 
her chair by means of cloth bands. This was effected by 
three members of the company, who left only her arms free. 
That done, places were taken at the table in the following 
order: on the left of Mme. Eusapia, M. Lombroso; then, in 
succession, M. Vizioli, myself, the nephew of M. Lombroso, 
MM. GigH, Limoncelli, Tamburini ; finally, Dr. Penta, who 
completed the circle and sat at the right of the medium. 

MM. Ascensi and Bianchi refused to form part of the cir- 
cle, and remained standing behind MM. Tamburini and 
Penta. I paid little attention to these two, being certain 
that their action was a premeditated combination in order to 
redouble the vigilance. I simply recommended that, while 
they were observing with extreme care, each should remain 

The experiments began in candlelight strong enough to 
light up the whole room. After a long wait the table began 
to move, slowly at first, then more energetically. How- 
ever, the movements remained intermittent, labored, and 
much less vigorous than at Saturday's seance. 

The table volunteered a request by taps of its leg des- 
ignating the letters of the alphabet, that MM. Limoncelli and 
Penta should exchange places. This exchange effected, the 
table called for the turning out of lights. 

A moment after, and with more force this time, the move- 
ments of the table began again. Suddenly, in the midst of 
these, violent blows were heard. The chair placed at M. 
Lombroso's right tried to climb up on the table, then hung 
suspended upon the arm of the learned professor. All of 


a sudden the curtains of the alcove were shaken, and swung 
forward over the table in such a way as to envelop M. Lom- 
broso, who was very much moved by such a wonder, as he 
himself has declared. 

All these phenomena, happening at long intervals, in the 
darkness, and in the midst of noisy conversation, were not 
estimated at their true worth. It was thought that they were 
only the effects of chance or were jests of some member of 
the company. 

While we are all waiting and discussing the import of the 
phenomena and the greater or less value that should be set 
on them, the noise of the fall of an object is heard. \Vlu-u 
the room is lighted, there is found at our feet under the table 
the trumpet which had been placed on the round table in 
the alcove behind the curtains. This circumstance, which 
MM. Bianchi and Ascensi receive with a burst of laughter, 
surprises the experimenters, and has the effect of more com- 
pletely fixing their attention. 

The room is darkened again, and, by urgent request some 
fugitive glimmers of light are seen to appear and disappear 
at long intervals. This phenomenon impressed MM. Bian- 
c-lii and Ascensi, and put an end to their incessant railleries, 
BO much so that they came and formed a part of the circle. 
At the moment of the appearance of the gleams, and even 
some time after they had ceased to show themselves, MM. 
Liinoncelli and Tamburini, at the right of the medium, said 
iliut they were touched in several places by a hand. M. 
I.i'inbroso's young nephew, absolutely sceptical, who had 
taken a seat by the side of M. Limoncelli, declared that ho 
felt the touch of a flesh-and-blood hand, and asked with some 
impetuosity who did that. He forgot being not only 
sceptical, but artless that, like himself, all the persons 
present were helping to form the chain of hands and were in 
mutual contact. 

It was getting late, and the lack of homogeneity in the cir- 
cle was abridging the phenomena. Under these conditions 
I thought- I ought to end the seance and cause the candles 
to be lighted. 

When MM. Limoncelli and Vizioli were taking leave, th 
medium being still seated and bound, and all of us were 


standing around the table conversing about the luminous phe- 
nomena, and comparing the scattered and feeble effects ob- 
tained in this soiree with those of the Saturday preceding, 
and seeking the reason for this difference, we heard noise 
in the alcove, and saw the portieres which enclosed it vigor- 
ously shaken, and the round table which was behind them 
slowly advancing toward Mme. Paladino, still seated and 

On seeing this strange, unexpected phenomena occur in 
full light, we were all stupefied with amazement. M. Bian- 
chi and M. Lombroso's nephew dashed into the alcove, under 
the impression tliat some person concealed there was pro- 
ducing the movement of the portieres and the round table. 
Their astonishment was unbounded when they ascertained 
that there was no one there, and that, under their very eyes, 
the table continued to glide over the floor in the direction of 
the medium. That is not all. Professor Lombroso ob- 
served that, while the table was in movement, the salver on 
it had been turned upside down without a single particle of 
the flour which it contained being spilled ; and he added that 
no prestidigitator would have been able to accomplish such a 
feat. In the presence of these phenomena taking place as 
they did, after the breaking up of the circle, in such a way 
as to eliminate the hypothesis of a magnetic current, Pro- 
fessor Bianchi, in obedience to the love of truth, confessed 
that it was he who, for the sake of a joke, had contrived and 
brought about the fall of the tin trumpet, but that in the 
presence of such achievements as this he could no longer be 
sceptical, and was going to apply himself to the study of 
them in order to investigate their causes. 

Professor Lombroso complained of the trick, and said to M. 
Bianchi that, as between professors met in order to make 
scientific studies and researches in common, mystifying 
pranks like this could not but cast a slur upon the respect 
due to science. 

Professor Lombroso, who was a prey both to doubt and to 
ideas of his own which tormented his mind, made an en- 
gagement to be present at further meetings on his return to 
Naples in the following summer. 


M. Ciolfi, having sent these two reports to M. Lombroso, 
the. eminent professor of Turin confirmed their accuracy in 
the following letter, dated June 25, 1891 : 

Dear Sir, The two reports that you have sent me are 
of the utmost accuracy. 1 add that, before we had seen the 
salver turned over, the medium had announced that she 
would sprinkle the faces of those who sat by her with flour; 
and everything leads to the belief that such was her intention, 
but that she was not able to realize it, a new proof, to my 
mind, of her perfect honesty, especially considering her 
M 1 1 1 i - u nconsciousness. 

I am tilled with confusion and regret that I combated 
with so much persistence the possibility of the facts called 
Spiritualistic, 1 say facts, because I am still opposed to the 

Please give my greetings to M. E. Chiaia, and, if it is 
possible, get M. Albini to examine the visual field and the 
inner recesses of the eye of the medium, about which I desire 
to inform myself. 

Yours very truly, 


M. Lombroflo soon after published his experiences and 
reflections, in an article in the Annales des sciences pay- 
chitjiies (1892) which ends thus: 

None of these facts, (which we must admit, because no one 
can deny things which he has seen) is of such a nature as 
to lead us to form for their explanation an hypothesis of a 
world different from that admitted by the neuro-patholo- 

Above all, we must not forget that Mme. Eusapia is a 
neuropath ; that in her childhood she received a blow on the 
left parietal bone, which produced a hole so deep that you 
could put your finger in it ; that she remained subject to at- 
tacks of epilepsy, catalepsy, and hysteria, which take place 
especially during the seance phenomena; and that, finally, 
she has a remarkable obtuseness of touch. 


Well, I do not see anything inadmissible in this, that 
in the case of hypnotic and hysterical persons the excitation 
of certain centres, which become powerful by the paralysis 
of all the others and then provoke a transposition and a 
transmission of physical forces, may also produce a transfor- 
mation in luminous force or in motive force. Thus we 
understand how the force in a medium which I shall call 
cortical or cerebral may, for example, lift the table, pull 
somebody's beard, hit him, caress him, etc. 

During the transposition of senses due to hypnotism, 
when, for example, the nose and the chin see (and that is a 
fact which I observed with my own eyes), and when for 
some moments all the other senses are paralyzed, the cortical 
centre of vision, which has its seat in the brain, acquires such 
an energy that it supersedes the eye. It is this which we 
have been able to prove, Ottolenghi and I, in the case of 
three hypnotized persons, by making use of the lens and of 
the prism. 

The phenomena observed would be explained, according 
to this theory, by a transformation of the powers of the 
medium. Let us continue our account of the experiments. 

Taking into consideration the testimony of Professor 
Lombroso, several savants including MM. Schiaparelli, di- 
rector of the observatory at Milan; Gerosa, professor of 
physics; Ermacora, doctor of natural philosophy; Aksakof, 
councillor of state to the Emperor of Russia ; Charles du 
Prel, doctor of philosophy in Munich; Dr. Richet, of Paris, 
and Professor Buffern met in October, 1892, in the apart- 
ment of M. Finzi, at Milan, to renew these experiments. 
M. Lombroso was present at several of the soirees. There 
were seventeen in all. 

The experimenters present signed the following long 
declaration : 

The results obtained did not always come up to our ex- 
pectations. Not that we did not secure a large number of 


facts apparently or really important and marvellous; but, 
in the greater number of cases, we were not able to apply 
the rules of experimental science which, in other fields of 
observation, are regarded as indispensable in order to arrive 
at certain and incontestable results. The most important 
of these rules consists in changing, one after the other, the 
methods of experiment, in such a way as to bring out the true 
cause, or at least the true conditions of all the events. Now 
it is precisely from this point of view that our experiments 
seem to us still incomplete. 

It is very true that the medium, to prove her good faith, 
often voluntarily proposed to change some feature of one or 
the other experiment, and frequently herself took the initia- 
tive in these changes. But this applied only to things that 
were apparently indifferent, according to our way of seeing. 
On the contrary, the changes which seemed to us necessary 
to put the true character of the results beyond doubt, either 
were not accepted as possible or ended in uncertain results. 

We do not believe we have the right to explain tin 
things by the aid of insulting assumptions, which many still 
find to be the simplest explanation, and of which some 
journals have made themselves champions. We think, on 
the contrary, that these experiments are concerned with phe- 
nomena of an unknown nature, and we confess that we do not 
know what the conditions are that are required to produce 
them. To desire to fix these conditions in our own right and 
out of our own head would be as extravagant as to pre- 
sume to make the experiment of Torricelli's barometer with 
a tube closed at the bottom, or to make electrostatic exper- 
iments in an atmosphere saturated with humidity, or to take 
a photograph by exposing the sensitive plate in full li^ht 
before placing it in the camera. However, it is a fact that 
the impossibility of varying the experiments in our own 
way has diminished the worth and the interest of the results 
obtained, by depriving them of that rigorous demonstration 
which we are right in demanding in cases of this kind, or, 
rather, to which we ought to aspire. 

The following are the principal phenomena observed. 


Levitation of One Side of the Table 

We agreed to have the medium sit alone at the table, in 
full light, her two hands placed on its upper surface and her 
sleeves drawn back to the elbows. 

We remained standing about her, and the space above and 
under the table was well lighted. Under these conditions 
the table rose at an angle of twenty to forty degrees, and so 
remained for some minutes, while the medium was holding 
her legs stretched out and striking her feet one against the 
other. When we pressed with the hand upon the lifted side 
of the table, we experienced a considerable elastic resist- 

The table was suspended by one of its ends to a dynamo- 
meter which was coupled to a cord: this cord was tied to a 
small beam supported upon two wardrobes. 

Under these conditions, the end of the table having been 
lifted six and a half inches, the dynamometer showed sev- 
enty-seven pounds. The medium sat at the same narrow end 
of the table, with her hands wholly on the table, to the right 
and the left of the point where the dynamometer was at- 
tached. Our hands formed the chain upon the table, with- 
out pressure: they would not have been able in any case to 
do more than increase the pressure brought to bear on the 
table. On the contrary, the desire was expressed that the 
pressure should diminish, and soon the table began to rise 
on the side of the dynamometer. M. Gerosa, who was fol- 
lowing the marks on the apparatus, announced this diminu- 
tion, expressed by the successive figures T 1 /^ 4 1/2, 2*/, 
(pounds). At the last the levitation was such that the 
dynamometer rested horizontally on the table. 

Then we changed the conditions by putting our hands 
under the table. The medium, especially, put hers, not un- 
der the edge, where it might have touched the vertical bor- 
der-board and exercised a push downwards, but under the 
rail that unites the feet, and touched this, not with the palm, 
but with the back of the hand. Thus all the hands together 
could only have diminished the traction upon the dynamo- 
meter. Upon the desire being expressed to see this traction 
augment, it increased from 7^2 pounds to 13 pounds. Dur- 


ing all these experiments each of the medium's feet rested 
under the foot of her nearest neighbor to right or left. 

Complete Levitation of the Table. 

It was natural to conclude that if the table, in apparent 
contradiction to the law of gravity, was able to rise partly, 
it would be able to rise entirely from the floor. As a mat- 
ter of fact, this is what happened. This levitation, one of 
the most frequent phenomena that occur in the experiments 
with Eusapia, stood a most satisfactory examination. 

The phenomenon always materialized under the following 
conditions: the persons seated about the table place their 
hands on it, and form the chain; each hand of the medium 
is held by the adjacent hand of her two neighbors; each of 
her feet remains under the feet of her neighbor, who also 
press her knees with theirs. She is seated, as usual, at one of 
the small ends of the table, a position least favorable for a 
mechanical levitation. At the end of several minutes the ta- 
ble makes a side movement, rises first to the right, then to 
the left, and finally mounts off of its four feet straight into 
the air, and lies there horizontally (as if it were floating on a 
liquid), ordinarily at a height of from 4 to 8 inches (in 
exceptional cases from 24 to 27 inches) ; then falls back 
and rests on its four feet. It frequently remains in the air 
for several seconds, and while there also makes undulatory 
motions, during which the position of the feet under the 
table can be thoroughly examined. During the levitation 
the right hand of the medium often leaves the table, as well 
as that of her neighbor, and is held in the air above. 

In order the better to observe this thing, we removed one 
by one the persons placed at the table, recognizing the 
truth that the chain formed by several persons was neither 
necessary for this phenomenon nor for others. Finally, we 
left only a single person with the medium, seated at her 
left. This person placed her foot upon Eusapia's two feet 
and one hand upon her knees, and held with her other hand 
the left hand of the medium. Eusapia's right hand was on 
the table, in full view, though sometimes she held it in the 
air during the levitation. 





As the table remained in the air for several seconds, it 
was possible to obtain several photographs of the perform- 
ance. Three pieces of photographic apparatus were working 
together in different parts of the room, and the illumination 
was furnished by a magnesium light at the opportune mo- 
ment. Twenty photographs were obtained, some of which 
are excellent. Upon one of them (PI. VIII) we see Pro- 
fessor Eichet, who holds one hand, the knees, and a foot of 
the medium. The other hand of the latter is held by Pro- 
fessor Lombroso. The table is shown horizontally lifted, 
a fact proved by the interval between the extremity of each 
foot and the extremity of the corresponding projected shadow. 

In all the experiments which precede, we gave our atten- 
tion principally to a careful inspection of the position of 
the hands and the feet of the medium ; and, in this respect, 
we believe we can say that they were safe from all criticism. 
Still, a scrupulous sincerity compels us to mention the fact 
to which we did not begin to call attention before the evening 
of October 5, but which probably must have occurred also in 
the preceding experiments. It consists in this, that the four 
feet of the table could not be considered as perfectly isolated 
during the levitation, because one of them at least was in 
contact with the lower edge of the medium's dress. 

On this evening it was remarked that a little before the 
levitation, Eusapia's skirt was inflated on the left side until 
it touched the foot of the nearest table. One of us having 
been charged with the duty of hindering this contact, the 
table was unable to rise as before, and it only did rise when 
the observer intentionally, permitted the contact to take place. 
This is shown in the photographs taken during this experi- 
ment, and also in those in which the table-foot in question is 
visible (after a fashion) at its lower extremity. The reader 
will see that at the same time the medium had her hand 
placed upon the upper surface of the table, and on the same 
side, in such a way that this table-foot was under her in- 
fluence, as much in its lower portion, by means of the dress, 
as in the upper portion, by means of the hand. 

Now in what way is it possible for the contact of a light 
dress-stuff with the lower extremity of the foot of a table to 
assist in the levitation ? That is something we do not know. 


The hypothesis that the dress may conceal a solid support, 
skilfully introduced, which may serve as a temporary sup- 
port for the foot of the table, is a very poor one. 

In fact, to keep the whole table resting on this one foot 
through the influence that a single hand could produce upon 
the upper surface of the table would require that the hand 
exercise upon the table a very strong pressure, one that we 
cannot suppose Eusapia capable of, even during three or 
four seconds. 

We convinced ourselves of this by ourselves making proof 
of it with the same table.* 

Movements of Objects at a Distance, without Contact with 
Any of the Persons Present 

1. Spontaneous movements of objects. 

These phenomena were observed several times during our 
seances. It often happened that a chair, placed for this 
purpose not far from the table, between the medium and one 
of her neighbors, began to move about, and sometimes came 
up to the table. A remarkable instance occurred in the sec- 
ond seance, everything being all the time in full light. A 
heavy chair, weighing twenty-two pounds, which stood a 
yard from the table and behind the medium, came up to M. 
Schiaparelli, who was seated next the medium. He rose to 
put it back in its place ; but scarcely was he seated when the 
chair advanced a second time toward him. 

2. Movement of the table without contact. 

However, some doubt may remain. In my photographs, also (PI. 
I. and VI. ) , the foot of the table at the left of the medium is concealed. 
As I myself was at this very place, I am sure that the medium was 
unable to lift the table with her foot, for this foot was held under mine, 
not by a rod or by any support whatever; for I had a hand upon her 
legs, which did not move. The objection is moreover refuted by the 
experiment which I made on the 29th of March, 1906 (see p. 6), of a 
levitation, with Eusapia standing, an experiment which had been 
made before on the 27th of July, 1897, at Monfort-PAmaury (see p. 
82), the feet, very naturally, being visible. Hence there can be no 
doubt whatever about the complete levitation of the table floating in 
space. Aksakof obtained a levitation, in the stances at Milan, after 
having tied Eusapia's feet with two strings, the ends of which were 
short and had been sealed to the floor very near each foot. 

Farther on the reader will be given proof of other undeniable in- 
stances, among others, at pp. 164, 165. 


It was desirable to obtain this phenomenon as a matter 
of experiment. For that purpose, the table being placed 
upon casters, the feet of the medium were watched, as has 
been said, and all of the sitters formed the chain with their 
hands, including those of the medium. When the table 
began to move, we all lifted our hands, without breaking 
the chain, and the table thus isolated made several move- 
ments. This experiment was several times renewed. 

The Fetching of Different Objects, the Hands of the Me- 
dium Being tied to those of her Neighbors. 

In order to assure ourselves that we were not the victims 
of a trick, we tied the hands of the medium by a string to 
those of her two neighbors, in such a way that the movements 
of the four hands would reciprocally control each other. 
The length of the cord between the hands of the medium was 
from eight to twelve inches, and between each one of her 
hands and the hands of her neighbors four inches. This 
distance of space was purposely arranged in order that the 
hands of the neighboring persons might, in addition, readily 
hold those of the medium during the convulsive movements 
which usually agitate her. 

The tying was done in the following way: we took three 
turns of the string around each wrist of the medium, without 
leaving any slack, but drawn so tightly as almost to give 
her pain,* and then we tied two simple knots. This was 

* I hear very often the following objection : " I shall only be- 
lieve in mediums who are not remunerated; all those who are paid are 
under suspicion." Eusapia belongs to these last. Being without for- 
tune, she never visits a city unless her travelling and hotel expenses 
are paid. She also loses her time, and is submitted to a not very agree- 
able inquisition. For my part, I do not admit the above objection at 
all. The physical and intellectual faculties have nothing in common 
with money-getting. It will be said that the medium is interested in 
deceiving and tricking: it increases her fees. But there are a good 
many other temptations in the world. I have seen unpaid mediums, 
men and women of society, cheat without any scruple, from pure van- 
ity, or for a purpose still less fit to be avowed, for the mere pleas- 
ure of trapping some one. The seances of Spiritualism have been made 
to serve useful and agreeable ends in fashionable society and more 
than one marriage has originated there. 

We must be as sceptical about one class of mediums as about an- 


done in order that, if by any artifice the hand was able to 
release itself from the string, the three turns would work 
against it and the hand could not get back again under the 
string as it was before. 

A little bell was placed upon a chair behind her. The 
chain was formed, and her hands as well as her feet were 
held as usual. The room was darkened in answer to the re- 
quest that the little bell should at once sound, after which 
we were to untie the medium. Immediately we heard 
the chair move, describe a curve upon the floor, approach 
the table, and presently place itself upon it. The bell rang, 
then was thrown upon the table. The light having been at 
once turned on, we ascertained that the knots of the string 
were in perfect order. It is clear that the fetching on of the 
chair was not produced by the action of the hands of the 

Impressions of Fingers obtained on Smoked Paper. 

In order to decide if we had to do with a human hand .... 
or with any other way of dealing, we fixed a sheet of paper, 
blackened with the smoke of a lamp, upon the table, on the 
side opposite that of the medium, and expressed a wish that 
the hand would leave an impression on it, that the hand of 
the medium should remain unsoiled, and that the lampblack 
be transferred to the hands of one of us. The hands of the 
medium were held by those of MM. Schiaparelli and Du 
Prel. The chain was made in the darkness, then we heard 
a hand lightly tap upon the table, and presently M. Du Prel 
announced that his left hand, which he held on the right 
hand of M. Finzi, had had the sensation of fingers rubbing 
it. As soon as the room was lighted, we found upon the 
paper several imprints of fingers, and the back of M. Du 
Prel's hand was covered with lampblack; but the hands of 
the medium, examined then and there, had no trace of it. 
This experience was repeated three times. When we insisted 
upon having a complete impression, we obtained five fingers 
upon a second sheet of paper, and upon a third the impres- 
sion of almost an entire left hand. After that the back of 


M. Du Prel's hand was completely blackened, the hands of 
the medium remaining perfectly clean. 

Apparitiori of Hands upon a Dimly Lighted Background 

We placed upon the table a large cardboard covered with 
a phosphorescent substance (sulphide of calcium), and we 
placed other pieces of cardboard upon chairs in different 
parts of the chamber. Under such conditions we saw very 
plainly the outline of a hand imposed on the cardboard of 
the table. Upon the background formed by the other pieces 
we saw the shadow of the hand pass and repass around us. 

On the evening of September 21 one of us several times 
saw the image, not of one, but of two hands at once, thrown 
upon the glass panes of a feebly illuminated window (out- 
side it was night, but the darkness was not complete). 
These hands exhibited a rapid tremulous motion, but not so 
rapid as to hinder us from seeing the outline clearly. They 
were wholly opaque and were thrown upon the window as 
absolutely black silhouettes. 

This simultaneous appearance of two hands is very signi- 
ficant, for they cannot be explained on the hypothesis of a 
trick of the medium, who would not have been able in any 
way to free more than one of her hands, owing to the 
surveillance of those who sat beside her. The same conclu- 
sion applies to the clapping of two hands, one against the 
other, which was several times heard in the air. 

The Levitation of the Medium to the Top of the Table 

We regard this levitation as among the most important 
and most significant of Spiritualistic achievements. It took 
place twice, on September 28 and October 3. The medium, 
was seated at one end of the table, uttering deep groans, 
and was lifted up with her chair and placed upon the table, 
not moving from her position, those next her still holding her 
hands as she rose. 

On the evening of September 28, while her two hands were 
held by MM. Eichet and Lombroso, the medium complained 
of their grasping her under the arm. Then, in a state of 


trance she said, with the changed voice which she usually 
has while in this state, " Now I bring up my medium upon 
the table." At the end of two or three seconds the chair,, 
with the medium seated in it, was not thrown, but lifted 
with precaution and placed upon the table. MM. Richet 
and Lombroso are sure they did not assist her in this ascen- 
sion. After she had spoken, being all the time in a state 
of trance, the medium announced her descent, and (M. 
Finzi being substituted for M. Lombroso) was placed upon 
the floor with care and precision, MM. Richet and Finzi fol- 
lowing her movements without at all assisting them. 

Moreover, during the descent, both gentlemen felt a hand 
touching them lightly several times upon the head. On 
the evening of October 3 the same phenomenon was repeated 
in similar circumstances. 


Some of these merit particular notice, owing to a circum- 
stance capable of giving us an interesting notion of their 
possible origin. Our first business is to describe the touch- 
ings which were felt by persons beyond the reach of the 
hands of the medium. Thus, on the evening of October 6, 
M. Gerosa, who was separated from the medium by three 
places (about four feet, the medium being a little to one 
side and M. Gerosa in one of the adjacent corners at the 
opposite short end of the table), having lifted his hand that 
it might be touched, felt a hand strike his own several times 
to make him lower it ; and, as he persisted, he was hit with 
a trumpet, which an instant before had been making sounds 
in the air. 

In the second place, we must note touchings which con- 
stitute very delicate operations, and which cannot be made 
in the darkness with the precision which we have noted in 
them. Twice (on September 16 and 21) M. Schiaparelli 
had his spectacles removed from his nose and laid down on 
the table before another person. These glasses are fixed to 
the ears by means of two springs, and a certain amount of 
attention is necessary in order to remove them, even to one 
working in full light. Yet they were removed iu complete 


darkness with so much delicacy and promptness that the said 
experimenter only perceived the loss of them when he no 
longer had the usual feeling of them on his nose, on his tem- 
ples, and behind his ears, and he was obliged to feel with his 
hands in order to be sure that they were no longer in their 
usual place. 

Many other touchings produced similar effects, and were 
executed with extreme delicacy; for example, when one of 
the company felt his hair and beard stroked. 

In all of the innumerable manoeuvres executed by myste- 
rious hands, there was never any awkward stumbling or col- 
lision to be noted, though ordinarily this is inevitable when 
one is working in the dark. I may add, in this connection, 
that bodies tolerably heavy and bulky, such as chairs and ves- 
sels full of clay, were deposited upon the table without hav- 
ing collided with any of the numerous hands resting upon the 
table, a particularly difficult thing in the case of chairs 
which, owing to their dimensions, occupied a large part of 
the table. A chair was turned over on its face upon the 
table and lay there at full length without causing the least 
annoyance to anybody; and yet it covered almost the entire 

Contact with a Human Face 

One of us having expressed the wish to be kissed, felt be- 
fore his very mouth the peculiar quick sounds of a kiss, but 
not accompanied by any contact of lips. This happened 
twice. On three different occasions one of the experimenters 
felt the touch of a face with hair and beard. The feeling 
of the skin was exactly that of a living man. The hair was 
much coarser and more bristly than that of the medium, and 
the beard seemed very soft and delicate. 

Such are the experiments made at Milan in 1892 by the 
group of savants cited above. 

How can we help admitting, after the reading of this new 
official report, the following things ? 

1. The complete levitation of the tables. 

2. The levitation of the medium. 



3. The movement of objects without contact. 

4. Accurate and delicate touches made by invisible or- 

5. The formation of hands and even of human figures. 
These phenomena take their place in this book as things 

which were observed with the most scrupulous care. 

Let us note also the action of the little piece of furniture 
(chair or round table), which tries to climb up on one of the 
company or upon the large table, a thing also observed by 

Although the savants of the Milan group regretted that 
they did not make experiments, but only observations (I 
said above (p. 20), what we ought to think about this), the 
facts were none the less proved. 

I will add that after the reading of this proces-verbal, the 
cautious reserves of M. Schiaparelli seem exaggerated. If 
fraud has sometimes crept in, still what has been accurately 
observed remains safe and sound and is an acquisition to 

Our medium, Eusapia, has been the subject of a fruitful 
series of experiments. Let me also mention those of Naples 
in 1893, under the direction of M. Wagner, Professor of 
Zoology at the University of St. Petersburg; that of Rome 
in 1893-1894, under the direction of M. de Siemiradski, 
correspondent of the Institute; those of Varsovie, from the 
25th of November, 1893, to the 15th of January, 1894, at 
the house of Dr. Ochorowicz ; those of Carqueiranne and of 
Pile Roubaud, in 1894, at the house of Professor Richet; 
those of Cambridge in August, 1895, at the house of Mr. 
Myers ; those of the villa de 1'Agnellas, from the 20th to the 
29th of September, 1895, at the house of Colonel de Rochas; 
those of Auteuil, in September, 1896, at the house of M. 
Marcel Mangin, etc. It would be entirely superfluous and 


an unconscionably long task to analyze them all. Let us 
merely select some special characteristic instances. 

In the report of M. de Siemiradski we read as follows : 

In the corner of the hall there was a piano, placed to the 
left of Ochorowicz and Eusapia, and a little in the rear. 
Some one desired to hear the keyboard touched. We at 
once hear the moving of the piano. Ochorowicz can even 
see the displacement, thanks to a ray of light which falls 
upon the polished surface of the instrument through the 
window shutters. The piano then opens noisily, and we hear 
the bass notes of the keyboard sounding. I utter aloud my 
desire to hear high notes and low notes touched at the same 
time, as a proof that the unknown force can act at the two 
ends of the keyboard. My wish is granted, and we hear bass 
notes and treble notes sounded at the same time, which seems 
to prove the action of two distinct hands. Then the instru- 
ment advances toward us. It presses against our group, 
and we are obliged to get up and move back with our ex- 
periment table, and we do not stop until we have thus moved 
back several yards. 

A glass half full of water, which stands on a buffet, out 
of reach of our hands, was carried by an unknown power to 
the lips of Ochorowicz, Eusapia, and another person, who all 
drank of it. This performance took place in complete dark- 
ness and with astonishing precision. 

We were able to prove the existence of a real hand not be- 
longing to any one present. We did it by means of the plas- 
ter cast and mould, as follows : 

Having placed a heavy basin filled with modelling-clay 
upon the large table in the middle of the dining-room, we 
sat down with Eusapia around the little experiment-table 
more than a yard distant. After some minutes of waiting, 
the basin came of itself and stood on our table! Eusapia 
groaned, writhed, and trembled in all her limbs ; yet not for 
a moment did her hands quit ours. Then she cried, " E 
fatto" ("It is done"). The candle is lighted again, and 
we find an irregular hollowed place upon the surface of the 
clay. This hollow place, afterward filled with plaster, gives 
us a perfect cast of the contracted fingers of a hand. 


We placed upon the table a plate smeared with lampblack. 
The mysterious hand left there the print of the end of its 
fingers. The hands of the experimenters, including those 
of Eusapia, remained white. We next induced the medium 
to reproduce the impression of her own hand upon another 
lamp-smoked plate. She did so. The layer of soot re- 
moved by her fingers had deeply blackened them. A com- 
parison of the two plates enabled us to prove a striking re- 
semblance, that is to say (to speak more accurately), the 
identity of the arrangement of the spiral circles in the epi- 
dermis of the two hands ; and we know that the arrangement 
of these circles is unique in every individual. This is a 
particular which speaks eloquently in favor of the hypothesis 
of the double personality of the medium. 

In order mechanically to control the movements of Eu- 
sapia's feet, Dr. Ochorowicz employed the following piece 
of apparatus. Two deep and narrow cigar-boxes were 
placed under the table, and Eusapia put her unshod feet 
into them. The boxes had double bottoms and were pro- 
vided with an electrical arrangement of such a nature that 
she could move her feet freely for some inches in every di- 
rection; but, if she wished to withdraw them from the box, 
the electric bell tinkled before she had moved them half 
way to the top, and only stopped when they were returned 
to their place. Eusapia cannot remain utterly quiet during 
the seances. So she was given a certain freedom of move- 
ment ; but it was impossible for her to make use of her legs 
for lifting the table. Under these conditions the table, 
weighing twenty-five pounds, rose up twice without the bell 
being heard. During the second levitation the table was 
photographed underneath. (The four feet of the table are 
seen in the photograph. The left is in contact with Eu- 
sapia's dress, as is always the case when the light is strong; 
but the boxes holding the feet of the medium are in their 
place.) Then the experimenters verified the fact that the 


bell was heard, not only when she removed her foot, but 
when she lifted it too high in the box. 

After all these demonstrations, I will not do my readers 
the wrong of thinking that the levitation of the table is not 
MORE THAN PROVED for all of them. 

Here, now, is a curious observation relative to the infla- 
tion of the curtain: Ten persons were seated around the 
table. Eusapia had her back turned to the curtain ; she was 
controlled by General Starynkiewicz and Dr. Watraszewski. 

I was seated (writes M. Glowacki-Prus) opposite Eusapia, 
near Mile. X., a very nervous person and easily hypnotized. 
The seance had lasted for about an hour, Avith numerous and 
varied phenomena. Eusapia, as always, was in a semi-con- 
scious state. Suddenly she awoke, and Mile. X. uttered 
a cry. Knowing what this cry meant, I grasped her hand 
with great force and then put my arm about her; for this 
girl becomes very strong in certain states. The room was 
well lighted, and this is what we saw (something, be it noted, 
which I myself experienced by my hands). Every time that 
the muscles of Mile. X. became more tense and rigid, the 
curtain which hung opposite her, at a distance of from seven 
to ten feet, made a movement. The following table indi- 
cates the details of this correlation: 

Feeble tension of the muscles . . The curtain is set in mo- 

Strong tension It bellies out like a sail. 

Very strong tension, cries It reaches as far as Eusa- 

pia's controllers, and al- 
most wholly covers them. 

Repose Repose. 

Tension of the muscles Movement of the curtain. 

Strong tension .Strong inflation of the cur- 

This tabular view presents the striking proportion which 
I ascertained between the tension of the medium's muscles 


(who in this case was Mile. X.) and the mechanical work 
of the curtain in movement. 

This experiment is so much the more interesting since it 
was not Eusapia who made it ; and, if she had a trick for in- 
flating the portieres, it was not employed in this case. We 
already know that she had none. 

Here are the conclusions of M. Ochorowicz : 

1. I did not find any proofs in favor of the Spiritualistic 
hypothesis; that is to say, in favor of the intervention of 
an intelligence other than that of the medium. " John " is 
for me only a psychic double of the medium. Consequently, 
I am not a Spiritualist. 

2. Mediumistic phenomena are confirmatory of " magnet- 
ism " as opposed to " hypnotism " ; that is to say, they im- 
ply the existence of a fluidic action apart from suggestion. 

3. Still, suggestion plays an important role in them, and 
the medium is only a mirror reflecting the forces and the 
ideas of those present. Moreover, she possesses the power 
of realizing her own somnambulistic visions or those sug- 
gested by the company, simply by the process of externaliz- 
ing them. 

4. No purely physical force explains these phenomena, 
\\hich are always of a psycho-physical nature, having a cen- 
tre of action in the mind of the medium. 

5. The phenomena proved do not contradict either me- 
chanics in general or the law of the conservation of forces 
in particular. The medium acts at the expense of her own 
proper powers and at the expense of those of the persons 

6. There exists a series of transitions between medium- 
ship of an inferior kind (automatism, unconscious fraud) 
and mediumship of a superior kind or externalization of 
motivity (action at a distance without visible and palpable 
connecting link). 

7. The hypothesis of a " fluidic double " (astral body), 
which, under certain conditions, detaches itself and acts in- 
dependently of the body of the medium, seems necessary for 


the explanation of the greater part of the phenomena. Ac- 
cording to this conception, the moving of objects without con- 
tact would be produced by the fluidic limbs of the medium.* 

Sir Oliver Lodge, an eminent English physicist, rector 
of the University of Birmingham, says that, on the invita- 
tion of Dr. Richet, he went to attend the experiments at 
Carqueiranne, thoroughly convinced that he should not see 
there any instance of physical movement without contact; 
but that what he saw completely convinced him that phe- 
nomena of that kind can have, under certain conditions, a 
real and objective existence. He vouches for the follow- 
ing verified facts: 

1. Movements of a chair at a distance, seen by the light 
of the moon, and in circumstances which proved that there 
was no mechanical connection. 

2. The inflation and the movement of a curtain in the 
absence of wind or of any other ostensible cause. 

3. The automatic winding up and moving about of a 

4. Sounds proceeding from a piano and from an accor- 
dion which had not been touched. 

5. A key turned in a lock, on the inside of the room 
where the seances were held, then placed upon the table, 
and again put back into the lock. 

6. The overturning, by means of slow and correct evolu- 
tions, of a heavy moving table, which was afterwards found 
thus turned upside down. 

7. The levitation of a heavy table, under conditions in 
which it would have been impossible to lift it in ordinary 

8. The appearance of blue marks upon a table previously 
spotless, and this done without the help of the ordinary 
methods of writing. 

9. The sensation of blows, as if some one were striking the 

* These reports were published in detail in the work of M. de 
Rochaa on The Externalisation of Motivity, 4th edition, 1906, p. 170. 



head, the arms, or the back, while the head, the hands, 
and the feet of the medium were plainly in view or held 
apart from the portions of the body that were touched. 

It is plain enough what part the above statements play in 
our argument. They are throughout simply confirmations 
of the experiments described above. 

At Cambridge, Eusapia was taken in the very act of de- 
ception; namely, the substitution of hands. While the con- 
trollers believed that they were holding her two hands, they 
were only holding one of them : the other was free. So these 
experimenters at Cambridge unanimously declared that 
" everything was fraud, from the beginning to the end," in 
Eusapia Paladino's twenty seances. 

In a paper sent to M. de Rochas, M. Ochorowicz con- 
tested this radical conclusion, for several reasons. Eusapia 
is very susceptible to suggestion, and, by indulging her in- 
clination to fraud and not hindering it, they incite her to it 
still more by a kind of tacit encouragement. Moreover, her 
fraud is generally of an unconscious kind. I append here, 
as a particular illustration of this, a rather typical story 
about her: 

One evening, at Varsovie (says M. Ochorowicz), Eu- 
sapia is sleeping in her chamber by the side of ours. I have 
not yet gone to sleep, when suddenly I hear her rising and 
moving about with bare feet in the drawing-room. Then 
she enters her chamber again and approaches our door. I 
make a sign to Mme. Ochorowicz, who has waked up, to be 
quiet and to observe carefully what is going to take place. 
A moment after, Eusapia gently opens the door, comes up 
to my wife's toilet-table, opens a drawer, shuts it, and goes 
away, carefully avoiding making any noise. I hastily dress 
myself and we enter her chamber. Eusapia is quietly sleep- 
ing. The light of our candle seems to wake her. 

" What were you hunting for in our sleeping-room ? " 
" I ? I haven't left this place." 


Seeing the uselessness of further questions, we go to bed 
again, advising her to sleep quietly. 

Next day I ask her the same question. She is very much 
astonished and even troubled (she blushes slightly). 

" How should I dare/' said she, " to enter your chamber 
during the night ? " 

This accusation is very painful to her, and she tries to 
persuade us by all kinds of insufficient reasons that we are 
wrong. She denies the whole thing, and I am obliged to 
admit that she does not remember getting up or even having 
conversed with us (it was just another somnambulistic state). 

I take a little table, and direct Eusapia to put her hands 
on it. 

" Very well," says she, " John will tell you that I don't 

I then ask the following questions: 

" Is it you, John, who came into our sleeping chamber 
last night ? " 

" No." 

"Was it the chambermaid? " (I suggest this idea for 
the express purpose of testing John's veracity.) 

" No," says he. 

" Was it the medium herself ? " 

" Yes," says the table. " No, it is not true, " exclaims 
Eusapia, seeing her hope banished " Yes," replies the table, 

" Was she in the trance state ? " 

" No." 

" In her normal state ? " 


" In a spontaneous somnambulistic state ? " 

" Yes." 

" For what purpose ? " 

" She was hunting matches; for she was frightened in her 
sleep, and didn't want to sleep without light." 

Sure enough, there were always matches in the drawer 
opened by Eusapia, except on this particular night. She 
therefore returned without getting any. 

While listening to the explanation of the table, Eusapia 
shrugged her shoulders, but protested no longer. 


Here, then, is a woman who, from time to time, has the 
power of passing from one psychical state to another. Is it 
just to accuse such a creature of premeditated fraud, with-' 
out the slightest medical and psychological examination, 
without the least attempt at verification ? . . . 

M. Ochorowicz adds here that, so far as he is concerned, 
the phenomena are not produced by a personality different 
from that of the medium, nor by a new independent occult 
force; but it is a special psychic condition which permits 
the vital dynamism of the medium (the astral body of the 
occultists) to act at a distance, under certain exceptional 
conditions. It is the only hypothesis which seems necessary 
in the actual state of our knowledge. 

Why does the medium so often try to release her hand ? 
So far as the Cambridge experimenters are concerned, the' 
cause is very simple and always the same: she releases her 
hand in order to indulge in tricks. As a matter of fact, 
the reasons why she frees her hand are many and compli- 

Dr. Ochorowicz's explanations are as follows: 

1. Let me observe, in the first place, that Eusapia fre- 
quently releases her hand for no other reason than to touch 
her head, which is in pain at the moment of the manifesta- 
tions. It is a natural reflex movement ; and, in her case, it 
is a fixed habit. Since, more often than not, she does not 
notice that she is doing it, or at least fails to give warning 
to her controller, the darkness justifies suspicions. 

2. Immediately before the mediumistic doubling of her 
personality, her hand is affected with hypenesthesia and, 
consequently, the pressure of the hand of another makes 
her ill, especially in the dorsal quarter. She then most 
frequently places the hand which is to be mediumistically 
active above and not below that of the controller, trying to 
touch it as little as possible. When the doubling of the 
personality is complete, and the dynamic hand more or less 


materialized, that of the medium contracts and rests heavily 
upon the controller, exactly at the moment that the phenome- 
non takes place. She is then almost insensible and all 
shrunken together. In very good mediumistic conditions 
the doubling is easy and the initial hypersesthesia of short 
duration. In this case the medium allows her hand to be 
completely covered and the feet of the controllers to be upon 
hers, as was always the case in our seances at Rome in 1893 ; 
but, since that time, she can no longer endure that position, 
and rather prefers to be held by hands under the table. 

3. In accordance with psychological laws, the hand al- 
ways proceeds automatically in the direction of our thoughts 
(Cumberlandism). The medium acts by auto-suggestion, 
and the order to go as far as an indicated point is given by 
her brain simultaneously to the dynamic hand and the cor- 
poreal hand, since in the normal state they form only one. 
And since, immediately after the hypergesthesia, the muscu- 
lar sensation is excited and the hand grows benumbed, it 
sometimes happens (especially when the medium proceeds 
carelessly and does not properly govern her movements) 
that the dynamic hand remains in place, while her own hand 
goes in the indicated direction. The former, not being yet 
materialized, produces only a semblance of pressure; and 
another person, able to see a little in the darkness, will per- 
ceive nothing of it, and will even be able to ascertain by 
touch the absence of the medium's hand from that of the 
controller. At the same time the hand of the medium is 
going in the direction of the object ; and still it may happen 
that it does not really reach it, acting, as it does, at a dis- 
tance, by a dynamic prolongation. 

It is in this way that I explain the cases in which tha 
hand, being released, has not yet been able to reach the 
point aimed at (physically inaccessible), as well as the 
numerous experiments made at Varsovie in full light, with 
a little bell hung in different ways, with compasses of dif- 
ferent forms, with a very small table, etc., experiments in 
which Eusapia's fingers were quite near, but did not touch, 
the object. I proved that there was no electric force at work 
in these cases, but that things occurred as if the arms of 
the medium were lengthened and acted invisibly, but me- 


chemically. At Varsovie, when one of my friends M. 
Glowacki, took it into his head " that it was necessary to 
give the medium free rein, in order to discover her method," 
we had an entirely fraudulent seance and lost our time to no 
purpose. On the contrary, in a poor seance at Pile Ron- 
baud, we obtained some good phenomena after having 
frankly told the medium that she was cheating. 

And here are the conclusions of the author upon " the 
Cambridge frauds " : 

1. Not only was conscious fraud not proved on Eusapia 
at Cambridge, but not the slightest effort was made to do so. 

2. Unconscious fraud was proved in much larger propor- 
tions than in all the preceding experiments. 

3. This negative result is vindicated by a blundering 
method little in accordance with the nature of the phe- 

Such is also the opinion of Dr. J. Maxwell, and of all 
who are competent judges of the question. 

To sum up, we see that the influence of preconce : ved 
ideas, opinions, and sentiments, upon the production of phe- 
nomena, is certain. When all the experimenters have nearly 
the same sympathetic inclination for this kind of research, 
and when they have decided to exercise sufficient " control " 
(that is, watchful oversight) not to be the dupe of any mys- 
tification, and agree among themselves to accept the regret- 
table conditions of darkness necessary to the activity of 
these unknown radiations, and not to trouble in any way 
the apparent exigencies of the medium, then the resulting 
phenomena attain an extraordinary degree of intensity.* 

* I will add, for the benefit of those who wish to try some of these 
psychic experiments, that the best conditions for success are to have 
a homogeneous, impartial, and sincere group, free from every precon- 
ceived idea, and not exceeding five or six persons in number. It is 
absurd to object that, in order to obtain the phenomena, one must 
have faith. But, while positive belief is not necessary, it is yet ad- 
visable not to exercise any hostile influence during a stance. 


But if discord reigns, if one or more of the company 
persistently spy upon the acts of the medium, with the con- 
viction that he or she must be cheating, the results are very 
much like the progress of a sailing vessel impelled by sev- 
eral contrary winds. The medium simply marks time 
without advancing; and little but sterile results are secured. 
Psychic forces are no less real than physical or chemical or 
mechanical forces. In spite of the desire that we may have 
to convince prejudiced sceptics, it is advisable to invite only 
one of them at a time, and to place him next to the medium, 
in order that he may be at once astonished, shaken, and con- 
vinced. But in general this is not worth the trouble. 

In the month of September, 1895, a new series of ex- 
periments was made at PAgnelas, in the residence of Colonel 
de Rochas, president of the polytechnic school, with the as- 
sistance of Dr. Dariex, editor of the Annales des sciences 
psychiques, Count de Gramont (doctor of science), Dr. J. 
Maxwell, deputy of the attorney-general at the Court of Ap- 
peals in Limoges, Professor Sabatier, of the faculty of sci- 
ences at Montpellier, and Baron de Watteville, a licentiate 
in science. They confirmed all the preceding details.* 

A similar series was held in September, 1896, at Tre- 
mezzo, in the rooms of the Blech family, then in summer 
residence at Lake Como ; again at Auteuil, at the home of M. 
Marcel Mangin, with MM. Sully-Prudhomme, Dr. Dariex, 
Emile Desbeaux, A. Guerronnan, and Mme. Boisseaux also 
participating. Let us stop for a moment to glance at this 
last seance. 

* A very curious experiment made with a letter-weigher took place at 
l'Agne"las. In response to an impromptu suggestion made by M. de 
Gramont, Eusapia consented to try whether, by making vertical passes 
with her hands on each side of the tray of the letter- weigher (going 
as high as fifty grams), she could not lower it. She succeeded in 
doing so several times in succession, in the presence of five observers 
placed about her, who testified that she did not have in her fingers 
either thread or hair to press upon the tray. 


I will first mention the photograph of the table sus- 
pended in the air, a levitation which did not leave any 
doubt in the mind of the experimenters, any more than it 
does in that of the observer who examines with atten- 
tion this photograph (PI. IX). The table descended slowly 
and the succession of images was registered by the photo- 
graph (same plate, Cut B). The following is an extract 
from the report by M. de Rochas upon this seance and the 
succeeding one : 

September 21. The table rises off its four feet. M. 
Guerronnan has time to take a photograph of it, but he 
fears that it may not be good. We beg Eusapia to begin 
again. She consents with good grace. The table is again 
lifted off its four feet. M. Mangin notifies M. Guerronnan 
who, from his post, could not see, and the table remains in 
the air until he has had time to take a picture of it (from 
three to four seconds at the most). The dazzling magne- 
sium light enables us all to verify the reality of the phe- 

The curtain, hung in the corner of the room, suddenly 
blows out and covers my head. Then I feel in succession 
three pressures of a hand upon my head, the pressures grow- 
ing stronger and stronger. I feel fingers which press as 
those of M. Sully-Prudhomme, my neighbor on the right, 
might do. I hold his left hand as a part of the chain of 

It is a hand, it is fingers, which have just pressed upon 
me so; but whose? I have continually had Eusapia's right 
hand upon my left hand, which she seized and tightly held 
at the moment of the production of the phenomenon. 

I throw back the curtain, which has remained upon my 
head, and we sit waiting. " Meno luce " (" less light ") 
asks Eusapia. The lamp is turned down more, and the re- 
maining light shut off by a screen. 

Facing me there is a window with closed outside shut- 
ters, but through which filters the light of the street. In 





the silence, iny attention is caught by the appearance of a 
hand, the small hand of a woman. I can see it, owing to 
the feeble light coming from the window. 

It is not the shadow of a hand: it is a hand of flesh (I 
do not add " and of bone," for I have the impression that 
it has no bones). This hand opens and closes three times, 
sufficiently long to permit me to say: 

" Whose hand is this ? yours, Monsieur Mangin ? " 

" No." 

" Then it is a materialization ? " 

" Undoubtedly : if you hold the medium's right hand, I 
hold the other." 

I had the right hand of Eusapia on my left hand, and 
her fingers were interlaced with mine. 

Now the hand which I saw was a right hand, stretched 
out and presented in profile. It remained for a moment 
motionless in the air, at about from twenty-four to twenty- 
eight inches above the table and thirty-six inches from Eu- 
sapia. As its immobility (I suppose) was the cause of my 
not seeing it, it therefore opened and closed: it was these 
movements which attracted my attention. 

My favorable position in respect to the window, unfor- 
tunately permitted me alone to see this mysterious hand ; but 
M. Mangin saw, at two separate times, not a hand, but the 
shadow of a hand outlined in profile upon the opposite 

Eusapia turns her head in the direction of the curtain, 
behind which there is a leather-covered easy-chair, and, dis- 
placing the curtain, this chair comes and leans against me. 

She takes my left hand, lifts it above the table the whole 
length of her right arm, and makes the feint of rapping in 
the air : the echo of three blows is heard on the table. 

A little bell is placed before her. She stretches out her 
two hands to the right and the left of the bell at a distance 
of from three to four inches ; then she draws back her hands 
toward her body, and, lo and behold ! the bell comes gliding 
along over the table until it bumps against something and 
falls over. Eusapia repeats the experiment several times. 
You would think that her hands' were invisibly prolonged ; 
and that seems to me to justify the term " ectenic force," 


which Professor Thury, of Geneva, gave in the year 1855 to 
this unknown energy. 

I was just asking if she did not perchance have some in- 
visible thread between her fingers, when suddenly, an irre- 
sistible itching made her put her left hand to her nose; her 
right had remained upon the table near the bell; the two 
hands at this moment were about two feet apart. I ob- 
served carefully. Eusapia rested her left hand upon the 
table, some inches from the bell, and this was again set in 
motion. Considering the gesture made by her, it would 
have been necessary, in order to perform this feat, to have a 
wonderfully elastic thread, absolutely invisible; for our 
eyes were, so to speak, upon the bell, and the light was 
abundant. My eyes were only a foot distant from the bell, 
at the utmost. 

This was a certain and undeniable case, and Sully-Prud- 
homme returned to his home with me as thoroughly con- 
vinced as I am. 

The poet of Solitudes and of Justice, wrote on his part, as 
follows : 

After a rather long wait, an architect's stool came march- 
ing up all alone toward me. It grazed my left side, rose to 
the height of the table, and succeeded in placing itself upon 
it. As I lifted my hand, I felt it at once seized. 

" Why do you take my hand ? " I asked of my neighbor. 

" It was not I," said he. 

While these phenomena were taking place, Eusapia seemed 
to be suffering. It seemed as if out of her own physio- 
logical fund or stock she were furnishing all the force re- 
quired to put the objects in motion. 

After the seance, while she was still very much prostrated, 
we saw an easy-chair which was behind the curtain come 
rolling up behind her, as if to say, " Hold on there ! you've 
forgotten me ! " 

My conviction is that I witnessed phenomena which 
I cannot relate to any ordinary physical law. My impres- 
sion is that fraud, in any case, is more than improbable, 
at least so far as concerns the displacement at a distance of 


heavy articles of furniture arranged by my companions and 
myself. That is all that I can say about it. For my part, 
1 call " natural " that which is scientifically proved. So that 
the word " mysterious " means that which still astonishes 
us because it cannot be explained. I believe that the sci- 
entific spirit consists in verifying facts, in not denying a 
priori any fact which is not in contradiction with known 
laws, and in accepting none which has not been determined 
by safe and verifiable conditions. 

Seance of September 26. A dark bust moves forward 
upon the table, coming from where Eusapia sits; then an- 
other, and still another. " They look like Chinese ghosts," 
says M. Mangin, with this difference, that I, who am 
better placed, owing to the light from the window, am 
able to perceive the dimensions of these singular images, 
and above all their thickness. All these black busts are 
busts of women, of life size; but, although vague, they do 
not look like Eusapia. The last of them, of fine shape, is 
that of a woman who seems young and pretty. These half- 
lengths, which seem to emanate from the medium, glide 
along between us; and, when they have gone as far as the 
middle of the table or two-thirds of its length, they sink down 
altogether (all of a piece, as it were), and vanish. This 
rigidity makes me think of the reproductions, or fac-similes, 
of a bust escaped from a sculptor's atelier, and I murmur, 
" One would think he was looking at busts moulded in papier- 
mache." Eusapia heard me. " No, not papier-mache," she 
says indignantly. She does not give any other explana- 
tion, but says (this time in Italian), " In order to prove to 
you that it is not the body of the medium, I am going to 
show you a man with a beard. Attention ! " I do not see 
anything, but Dr. Dariex feels his face rubbed against for 
quite a while by a beard. 

New experiments made at Genoa in 1901, at which Eurico 
Morselli, professor of psychology at the University of Gen- 
oa, was present, were reported by my learned friend the 
astronomer Porro, successively director of the observatories 
of Genoa and Turin, to-day director of the national observa- 


tory of the Argentine Republic at La Plata. Here are 
some extracts from this report:* 

Nearly ten years have passed since Eusapia Paladino 
made her first appearance in the memorable seances at Milan 
during the course of her mediumistic tours through Europe. 
The object of shrewd investigations on the part of experi- 
enced and learned observers; the butt of jokes, accusations, 
sarcasms; exalted by certain fanatics as a personification of 
supernatural powers and scoffed at by others as a mounte- 
bank, the humble haberdasher of Naples has made so much 
stir in the world that she is herself bored and displeased 
by it. 

I had good proof of this when I took leave of her, after I 
had listened with much curiosity to the anecdotes which she 
related to me of her seances and of the well-known men with 
whom she has been associated, Ch. Richet, Schiaparelli, 
Lombroso, Flammarion, Sardou, Aksakof, et al. She then 
very emphatically asked me not to speak in the journals of 
her presence at Genoa and of the experiments in which she 
should figure there. Happily, she has good reasons herself 
for not reading the journals, f 

Why was an astronomer chosen to give an account of the 
experiments at Genoa ? Because astronomers are occupied 
with researches into the unknown.^: 

If a man absorbed in his own private studies and attached 
to an austere and laborious manner of life, such as my ven- 
erated master M. Schiaparelli, has not hesitated to defy tho 
irreverent jests of the comic journals, it behooves us to con- 
clude that the bond between the science of the heavens and 
that of the human soul is more intimate than appears. The 
following is the most probable explanation. We have to do 
in these studies with phenomena which are manifested under 
wholly special and still undetermined conditions, in con- 

* Published by C. de Vesme in his Revue des Etudes psychiques, 

f Eusapia, as has been said, is unable either to read or write. 

+ Arago, in 1846, with the "electric girl "; Flammarion, in 1861, with 
Allan Kardec, then afterwards with different mediums; Zdllner, in 
1882, with Slade; Schiaparelli, in 1892 with Eusapia; Porro, in 1901, 
with the same medium (Revue des Etudes psychiques). 


formity with laws almost unknown and, in any case, of 
such a character that the will of the experimenter has but 
little influence upon the unshackled, self-regulating, and 
often adverse volitions which betray themselves at every mo- 
ment in the study of these psychical marvels. Nobody is 
better prepared to study these things than an astronomer, 
possessing, as he does, a scientific education precisely adapt- 
ing him to the investigation of such conditions. In fact, 
by the systematic observation of the movements of the heav- 
enly bodies, the astronomer contracts the habit of being a 
vigilant and patient spectator of phenomena, without at- 
tempting either to arrest or to accelerate their irresistible 
development. In other words, the study of the stars be- 
longs to the science of observation rather than to that of ex- 

Professor Porro then sets forth the actual state of the 
question relating to mediumistic phenomena. 

The explanation that everything is fraud, conscious or 
unconscious [says he], is to-day almost entirely abandoned, 
as much so as that which supposes that all is hallucination. 
In fact, neither one nor the other of these hypotheses is suf- 
ficient to throw light upon the observed facts. The hypo- 
thesis of unconscious automatic action on the part of the 
medium has not obtained any better fate; for the most 
rigorous controls have only proved that the medium finds it 
impossible to excite a direct dynamic effect. Physio-psy- 
chology has therefore been obliged, in these latter years, to 
have recourse to a supreme hypothesis, by accepting the 
theories of M. de Rochas, against which they had heretofore 
directed the fire of their heaviest guns. It has become re- 
signed to the admission that a medium whose limbs are held 
motionless by a rigorous control may, under certain condi- 
tions, project outside of herself, to a distance of several 
yards, a force sufficient to produce certain phenomena of 
movement in inanimate bodies. 

The boldest partisans of this hypothesis go so far as to 
accept the temporary creation of pseudo-human limbs, 
arms, legs, heads, in the formation of which the energies 


of other persons present probably co-operate with those of the 
medium. The theory is that as soon as the energizing power 
of the medium is withdrawn these phantom dynamic limbs 
at once dissolve and disappear. 

For all that, we do not yet go so far as to admit the ex- 
istence of free and independent beings who would be able to 
exercise their powers only through the human organism; 
and still less do we admit the existence of spirits who once 
animated the forms of human beings. . . . 

M. Porro openly declares that, for his part, he is neither 
a materialist nor a Spiritualist: He says that he is not 
ready to accept, a priori, either the negations of psycho- 
physiology or the faith of Spiritualists. 

He adds that the nine persons who were present with him 
at the seances represented the greatest variety of opinions 
on the subject, from the most firmly persuaded Spiritual- 
ists to the most incorrigible sceptics. Moreover, his task 
was not that of writing an official report, approved by all 
the experimenters, but solely that of faithfully relating his 
own impressions. 

The following are the most important of these, selected 
from his reports on the different seances : 

I saw, and plainly saw, the rough deal table (a table a 
yard long and nearly two feet wide and resting on four feet) 
rise up several times from the floor and, without any con- 
tact with visible objects, remain suspended in the air, sev- 
eral inches above the floor, during the space of two, three, 
and even four seconds. 

This experiment was renewed in full light without the 
hands of the medium and of the five persons who formed the 
chain about the table touching the latter in any way. Eu- 
sapia's hands were looked after by her neighbors, who con- 
trolled also her legs and her feet in such a way that no part 
of her body was able to exercise the least pressure for the 
lifting or maintaining in the air of the rather heavy article 
of furniture used in the experiments. 


It was under such absolutely trustworthy conditions a3 
these that I was able to see inflated a very thick piece of black 
cloth and the red curtains which were behind the medium, 
and which served to close the embrasure of the window. 
The casement was carefully closed, there was no current of 
air in the room, and it is absurd to suppose that persons 
were hidden in the embrasure of the window. I believe, 
then, that I can affirm with the utmost confidence that a 
force, analogous to that which had produced the levitation 
of the table, was manifested in the curtains, inflated them, 
shook them, and pushed them out in such a way that they 
touched now one and now another of the company. 

During the sitting an event took place which deserves to be 
mentioned as a proof, or at least as an indication, of the 
intelligent character of the force in question. 

Being face to face with Mme. Paladino, at a point in the 
table the most removed from her, I complained that I had 
not been touched as had the four other persons who formed 
the company. No sooner had I said this than I saw the 
heavy curtain sweep out and come and hit me in the face 
with its lower edge, at the same time that I felt a light blow 
upon the knuckles of my fingers, as if from a very fragile 
and light piece of wood. 

Next a formidable blow, like the stroke of the fist of an 
athlete, is struck in the middle of the table. The person 
seated at the right of the medium feels that he is grasped in 
the side; the chair in which he was seated is taken away 
and placed upon the table, from which it then returns to its 
place without having been touched by anybody. The ex- 
perimenter in question, who has remained standing, is able 
to take his seat in the chair again. The control of this 
phenomenon left nothing to desire. 

The blows are now redoubled, and are so terrific that it 
seems as if they would split the table. We begin to per- 
ceive hands lifting and inflating the curtains and advancing 
so far as to touch first one, then the other, of the company, 
caressing them, pressing their hands, daintily pulling their 
ears or clapping hands merrily in the air above their heads. 

It seems to me very singular and perhaps intentional, 
this contrast between the touches (sometimes nervous and 


energetic, and again delicate and gentle, but always friendly) 
and the deafening, violent, brutal blows struck upon the 

A single one of these fist-blows, planted in the back, would 
suffice to break the vertebral column. 

The hands that perform these feats are the strong and 
brawny hands of a man, the daintier hands are those of a 
woman, the very small hands those of children. 

The darkness is rendered a little less dense, and at once 
the chair of No. 5 (Professor Morselli), which had already 
made a jump to one side, is slipped from under him, while 
a hand is placed on his back and on his shoulder. The chair 
gets up on the table, comes down again to the floor, and, 
after different horizontal and vertical oscillations, soars up 
and rests upon the head of the professor, who has remained 
standing. It remains there for some minutes in a state of 
very unstable equilibrium. 

The loud blows and the delicate touches of hands, large 
and small, succeed each other uninterruptedly in such a 
way that, without our being able mathematically to prove 
the simultaneousness of different phenomena, it is yet al- 
most certain in several cases. 

While our opportunities for obtaining so valuable a sub- 
ject of demonstration increase, the simultaneity which 
we ask for is at last granted; for the table raps, the bell 
sounds, and the tambourine is carried tinkling over our 
heads all about the room, rests for a moment on the table, 
and then resumes its flight in the air. . . . 

A bouquet of flowers, placed in a carafe on the larger 
table, comes over onto ours, preceded by an agreeable per- 
fume. Stems of flowers are placed in the mouth of No. 5 ; 
and No. 8 is hit by a rubber ball, which rebounds upon the 
table. The carafe comes over to join the flowers on our 
table; it is then immediately lifted and put to the mouth of 
the medium, and she is made to drink from it twice; be- 
tween the two times it sinks down to the table and stands 
there for a moment right side up. We distinctly hear the 
swallowing of the water, after which Mme. Paladino asks 
some one to wipe her mouth with a handkerchief. Finally, 
the carafe returns to the large table. 


But a transfer of a totally different character is effected 
in the following way. I had complained several times that 
my position in the chain at a distance from the medium had 
hindered me from being touched during the seance. Sud- 
denly, I hear a noise on the wall of the room, followed by 
the tinkling of the strings of the guitar, which vibrate as if 
some one were trying to take down the instrument from the 
wall on which it hung. At last the effort succeeds, and the 
guitar comes toward me in an oblique direction. I dis- 
tinctly saw it come between me and No. 8, with a rapidity 
which rendered the impact of it rather unpleasant. Not 
being able at first to account to myself for this dim black ob- 
ject which was driving at me, I slipped to one side (No. 8 
was seated at my left). Then the guitar, changing its route, 
struck forcibly with its handle three blows upon my fore- 
head (which remained a little bruised for two or three 
days), after which it came to a rest with delicate precision 
upon the table. It did not remain there very long before it 
began to circle about the hall, with a rotation to the right, 
quite high above our heads, and at great speed. 

It is proper to remark that, in this rotation of the guitar, 
the vibration of its own strings was added to the sound of 
the tambourine struck sometimes on one side, sometimes on 
the other, in the air; and the guitar, bulky as it was, never 
once struck the central supporting electric-light rod, nor the 
three gas lamps fixed on the walls of the chamber. When 
we take into consideration the contracted dimensions of the 
room, we see that it was very difficult to avoid these ob- 
stacles, since the space remaining free was very limited. 

The guitar took its flight twice around the room, coming 
to a stand-still (between the two times) in the middle of 
the table, where finally it came to a rest. In a final supreme 
effort, Eusapia turns toward the left, where upon a table is 
a typewriting machine weighing fifteen pounds. During 
the effort the medium falls exhausted and nervous upon the 
floor ; but the machine rises from its place and betakes itself 
to the middle of our table, near the guitar. 

In full light, Eusapia calls M. Morselli, and, controlled by 
the two persons next her, brings him with her toward the 
table, upon which is placed a mass of modelling-plaster. 


She takes his open hand and pushes it three times toward 
the plaster, as if to sink the hand into it and leave upon it 
an impression. M. Morselli's hand remains at a distance 
of more than four inches from the mass : nevertheless, at the 
end of the seance, the experimenters ascertain that the lump 
of plaster contains the impression of three fingers, deeper 
prints than it is possible to obtain directly by means of 
voluntary pressure. 

The medium lifts her two hands, all the time clasped in 
mine and in those of No. 5 (Morselli), and uttering groans, 
cries, exhortations, she rises with her chair, so far as to 
place its two feet and the ends of its two front cross-bars 
upon the top of the table. It was a moment of great anx- 
iety. The levitation was accomplished rapidly, but without 
any jarring or jolting or jerking. In other words, if, in an 
effort of extreme distrust you insisted on supposing that she 
employed some artifice to obtain the result, you would rather 
have to think of a pulling up, by means of a cord and pulley, 
rather than of a pushing from beneath. 

But neither of these hypotheses can stand the most ele- 
mentary examination of the facts. . . . 

There is more to follow. Eusapia was lifted up still 
farther with her chair, from the upper part of the table, 
in such a way that No. 11 on one side and I on the other 
were able to pass our hands under her feet and under those 
of the chair. 

Moreover, the fact that the posterior feet of the chair were 
entirely off of the table, without any visible support makes 
this levitation still more irreconcilable with the supposition 
that Eusapia could have made her body and the chair take 
an upward leap. 

M. Porro judges that this phenomenon is one of those 
which are less easily explained if we decline to have re- 
course to the Spiritualistic hypothesis. It is a little like the 
man who fell into the water and thought he could pull him- 
self out by his own hair. 

Eusapia [adds M. Porro] descended without any jolting, 
little by little, No. 5 and I never letting go her hands. The 


chair, having risen up a little higher, turned over and placed 
itself on my head, whence it spontaneously returned to the 

This thing was tried again. Eusapia and her chair were 
transported again to the top of the table, only, this time, 
the result of the fatigue undergone by her was such that 
the poor woman fell in a faint upon the table. We lifted 
her down with all due care. 

The experimenters desired to know whether these phe- 
nomena, the success of which depends in so great measure 
upon the conditions of light, could not have better success 
in the white and quiet light of the moon. 

They were obliged to admit that there was no appreciable 
difference between the lunar light and other kinds. But 
the table around which they had formed the chain quitted 
the veranda where the sitting was being held, and, in spite 
of the strongly expressed wishes of the sitters and of the 
medium herself, betook itself into the neighboring room, 
where the sitting then continued. 

This room was a little salon crowded with elegant furni- 
ture and fragile objects, such as crystal chandeliers, porce- 
lain vases, bric-a-brac, etc. The experimenters feared very 
much that these things would suffer damage in the bustle of 
the seance ; but not the slightest object suffered any damage. 

Mme. Paladino, who was now herself again, took the 
hand of No. 11 and placed it gently upon the back of a chair, 
at the same time placing her own hand upon his. Then, as 
she lifted her hand and that of No. 11, the chair followed 
the same ascending movement several times in succession. 

This thing was repeated in full light. 

No. 5, as well as other gentlemen, perceived, in a manner 
that admitted of no doubt, a vague, indistinct figure thrown 
upon the air in the doorway of an antechamber which was 
feebly illuminated. The figure consisted of changing and 
fugitive silhouettes, sometimes with the outline of a human 
head and body, sometimes like hands reaching out from the 
curtains. Their objective character was demonstrated by 
the agreement of impressions, which were controlled in their 
turn by means of continual inquiries. There was no possi- 
bility of their being shadows voluntarily or involuntarily 


projected by the bodies of the experimenters, since we were 
mutually watching each other. 

The tenth seance (the last) was one of the best-attended, 
and was perhaps the most interesting of all. 

Scarcely has the electric light been extinguished when 
we remark an automatic movement of the chair upon which 
a lump of plaster has been placed, while the hands and feet 
of Eusapia are watchfully controlled by me and by No. 3. 
However, as we wish to forestall the objection of critics 
that the phenomena take place in the dark, the table typto- 
logically (that is, by taps) asks for light, and the experi- 
menters light the electric lamp. 

Presently, all the company see the chair on which the 
lump of plaster lies (not at all a light chair) moving between 
myself and the medium, without our being able to under- 
stand the determining cause of the movement. 

Mme. Paladino puts her outspread hand upon the back 
of the chair and her left above it. When our hands rise up, 
the chair rises also without contact, reaching a height of 
about six inches. This performance is several times re- 
peated, with the addition of the intervention of the hand of 
No. 5, under conditions of light and of control which leave 
nothing to be desired. 

The room is again almost completely darkened. . . . 
A current of cold air upon the table precedes the arrival of a 
little branch with two green leaves. We know that there are 
no plants in the neighborhood of the company: it appears 
then that we have here a case of bringing-in from the out- 

No. 3 is greatly exhausted with the heat. And, lo! a 
hand, which takes his handkerchief from his neck and with 
it dries the perspiration on his face. He tries to seize the 
handkerchief with his teeth, but it is snatched from him. 
A big hand lifts his left hand and makes him rap several 
strokes with it on the table. 

Gleams of light begin to appear, at first on the right hand 
of No. 5, then in different parts of the hall. They are per- 
ceived by everybody. 


The curtain is inflated, as if it were pushed against by a 
strong wind, and touches No. 11, who is seated in a small 
easy-chair a yard and a half from the medium. The same 
person is touched by a hand, while another hand pulls a fan 
from the inside pocket of his jacket, carries it to No. 5 and 
then to No. 11. The fan is soon returned to its owner, and 
is moved to and fro above our heads, to the great satisfac- 
tion of all of us. A tobacco pouch is taken from the pocket 
of No. 3: the Invisible empties it on the table, and then 
gives it to No. 10. Various stems of plants drop upon the 

Transfers of the fan from one hand to another begin 
again. Then No. 11 believes that he ought to announce 
that the fan had been offered to him by a young girl who had 
expressed the wish that it be transferred to No. 11, then 
given back to No. 5. Nobody knew about this except No. 11. 

No. 5, who at present occupies the small arm-chair where 
formerly No. 11 was seated, a yard and a half from the 
medium, feels the edge of the curtain touching him and then 
perceives the presence of the body of a woman whose hair 
rests on his head. 

The seance is adjourned about one o'clock. 

At the moment of parting, Eusapia sees a bell on the 
piano; she extends her hand; the bell glides along on the 
piano, turns over, and falls on the floor. The experiment 
is renewed, in full light _as before, the hand of the medium 
remaining several inches from the bell. . . . 

It is evident that these exploits are still more extraordi- 
nary than the preceding ones, in certain respects. The fol- 
lowing are the conclusions of the report of Professor Porro. 

The phenomena are real. They cannot be explained 
either by fraud or by hallucination. Do they find their ex- 
planation in certain strata of the unconscious (the sub- 
liminal), in some latent faculty of the human soul, or indeed 
do they reveal the existence of other entities living under 
conditions wholly different from ours and normally inac- 
cessible to our senses? In other words, will the animistic 
hypothesis suffice to solve the problem and to do away with 


the Spiritualistic hypothesis ? Or, rather, do not the phe- 
nomena serve here, as in the psychology of dreams, to com- 
plicate the problem by hiding the Spiritualistic solution 
within them? It is to this formidable query that I am 
going to attempt a reply. 

When, eleven years ago, Alexander Aksakof stated the 
dilemma between Animism and Spiritism, and in a masterly 
work clearly proved that purely animistic manifestations 
were inseparable from those which direct our thoughts to 
a belief in the existence of independent, intelligent, and 
active entities, no one could have expected that the first 
term of the dilemma would be disputed and criticised in a 
thousand ways, under a thousand varying forms, by per- 
sons who would be dismayed at the second term. 

In fact, what are all the hypotheses which for ten years 
now have been invented in order to reduce mediumistic phe- 
nomena to the simple manifestation of qualities latent in the 
human psyche (or soul), if not different forms of the ani- 
mistic hypothesis, so jeered at when it appeared in the work 
of Aksakof? 

From the idea of the unconscious muscular action of the 
spectators (put forth half a century ago by Faraday) to 
the projection of protoplasmic activity or to the temporary 
emanation from the body of the medium imagined by Lodge ; 
from the psychiatric doctrine of Lombroso to the psycho- 
physiology of Ochorowicz ; from the externalization admitted 
by Roclias to the eso-psychism of Morselli; from the auto- 
matism of Pierre Janet to the duplication of personality of 
Alfred Binet, there was a perfect flood of explanations, 
having for their end the elimination of an exterior per- 

The process was logical and in agreement with the prin- 
ciples of scientific philosophy, which instructs us to exhaust 
the possibilities of what is already known before having re- 
course to the unknown. 

But this principle, unassailable in theory, may lead to 
erroneous results when it is wilfully stretched too far into 
a given field of research. Vallati has cited, in this connec- 
tion, a curious marginal note of Galileo, recently published 
in the third volume of the national edition of his works: 


" If we heat amber, the diamond, and certain other very 
dense substances by chafing them, they attract small light 
bodies, because, in cooling off, they attract the air, which 
draws these corpuscles along with it." Thus the desire 
to bring still unexplained material facts under the known 
physical laws of his day led an observer and thinker so 
prudent and practical as Galileo to formulate a false propo- 
sition. If anybody had said to him that in the attraction 
exercised by amber there was the germ of a new branch of 
science and the rudimentary manifestation of an energy 
(electricity) then unknown, he would have replied that it 
was useless to " have recourse to the aid of the unknown." 

But the analogy between the error committed by the great 
physicist and that which modern scholars commit can be 
pushed still farther. 

Galileo was familiar with a form of energy which the 
natural philosophy of our times investigates simultaneously 
with electric energy, with which it has close relations con- 
firmed by all recent discoveries. If it had been perceived 
that the explanation which he gave of the phenomenon of 
amber had no foundation, he would have been able to give 
his attention to the analogies which the attraction exercised 
by amber rubbed over light bodies presents with the attrac- 
tion exercised by the loadstone upon iron filings. When 
he had got so far, he would very probably have discarded 
his first hypothesis and would have admitted that the attrac- 
tive power of amber is a magnetic phenomenon. He would 
have been deceived, however, for it is an electric phenome- 

In the same way might not those persons deceive them- 
selves who, in order to escape at any cost the necessity of 
the hypothesis of spiritistic entities, should insist with a 
too persistent predilection upon the animistic hypothesis, 
even when this would be found insufficient to explain all 
mediumistic manifestations? Might it not be true that, 
like electric and magnetic phenomena, which are in close 
interchangeable connection, and frequently appear to us in- 
separable, animistic and spiritistic phenomena have a com- 
mon bond? And let us well note that a single fact, inex- 
plicable by the animistic hypothesis and explicable by the 


spiritistic hypothesis, would suffice to confer upon the latter 
that degree of scientific value which up to the present time 
has been so energetically denied to it, just as the discovery 
of a secondary phenomenon, that of the polarization of light, 
sufficed to make Fresnel reject the Newtonian theory of 
emission and admit that of undulation. 

Did we obtain, during the course of our ten seances with 
Eusapia, the one fact which is enough to make the spirit- 
istic hypothesis necessarily take precedence of all others? 

It is impossible to reply categorically to this question be- 
cause it is not possible, and never will be, to have a scientific 
proof of the identity of the beings who manifest themselves. 

The fact that I hear, that I see, that I touch a phantom ; 
that I recognize in it the form and the attitude of persons 
whom I have known and whom the medium has neither 
known nor of whom she has even heard the names; that I 
have the most lively and affecting testimony to the presence of 
this ephemeral apparition, all that will not be sufficient to 
constitute the scientific fact which none can refute, and 
which shall be worthy to remain in the annals of science 
along with the experiments of Torricelli, Archimedes and 
Galvani. It will always be possible to imagine an unknown 
mechanism by the aid of which elemental substance and 
power may be drawn from the medium and the sitters and 
combined in such a way as to produce the indicated effects. 
It will always be possible to find in the special aptitudes of 
the medium, in the thought of the sitters, and even in their 
attitude of expectant attention, the cause of the human 
origin of the phenomena. It will always be possible to un- 
earth from the arsenal of the attacks made upon these studies 
during the last fifty years, some generic or specific argument, 
either ad rem or ad hominem, while ignoring or feigning to 
ignore the refutation of the argument which has already been 

The question, then, reduces itself at once to an individual 
study of cases either directly observed or obtained from some 
sure hand, in order on the one hand, to create a personal con- 
viction capable of resisting the scathing ridicule of the scep- 
tics, and, on the other hand, to prepare public opinion to 


admit the truth of cases observed by persons worthy of cre- 

With regard to the first of these, the illustrious experi- 
menter Sidgwick, has already said that no fact or case exists 
capable of convincing everybody, but that each one, by 
patiently and calmly observing, may find such fact or case as 
will suffice to establish his own conviction. . I may say that 
for myself such a case exists. I need only refer to the 
phenomena in which I have personally participated in the 
seances with Eusapia. 

With regard to the second point I could say much, but 
that would lead me beyond the subject matter and the limits 
of this study. 

On the one hand, we have the universal belief in the ob- 
jective existence of a world unknown to us in our normal 
state; that faith (the basis of all religions) in a future life 
where the injustices of this one will be atoned for and where 
we shall be confronted with the good or evil deeds that we 
have done on earth; that uninterrupted tradition of sys- 
tematic or spontaneous observances and rituals, thanks to 
which man is constantly kept in relation more or less with 
that unknown world. 

On the other hand, we have the sceptical and disheartening 
negation of systems of pessimistic philosophy and of atheism, 
a negation which takes its rise in the absence of positive 
proofs of the survival of the soul; the ever more and more 
marked tendency of science toward a monistic interpretation 
of the enigma of human life; and the belief that all the 
known phenomena of life appear only in connection with 
special organs. 

In order to decide in so abstruse a matter as this, medium- 
istic experiments do not suffice; everyone may draw from 
these as much of credence or of incredulity as he may need 
in order to resolve his doubts in one way or another ; but he 
will never divest himself of the substratum of temperamental 
tendencies which the more or less scientific education of his 
mind or the more or less mystical inclinations of his nature 
shall have developed in him. 

One word more and I have done. 

While admitting it as the most probable hypothesis that 


the intelligent beings to whom we owe these psychical phe- 
nomena are pre-existing, independent entities, and that they 
only derive from us the conditions necessary for their mani- 
festation in a physical plane accessible to our senses, ought 
we to admit also that they are really the spirits of the dead ? 

To this question I will reply that I do not feel that I am 
as yet capable of giving a decisive answer. 

Still I should be inclined to admit it, if I did not see the 
possibility that these phenomena might form part of a scheme 
of things still more vast. In fact, nothing hinders us from 
believing in the existence of forms of life wholly different 
from those which we know, and of which the life of human 
beings before birth and after death forms only a special case, 
just as the organic life of man is a special case of animal 
life in general. 

But I am leaving the solid ground of facts to explore that 
of the most hazardous hypotheses. I have already spoken at 
too great length, and will therefore close the discussion of 
this particular topic. 

I have considered the above subjects in several of my 
own works.* 

We are surrounded by unknown forces and there is no 
proof that we are not also surrounded by invisible beings. 
Our senses teach us nothing about reality. But logically 
the discussion of theories ought to be reserved as a comple- 
ment to the ensemble or summary of our observations and 
experiments ; that is to say, for the last chapter. It behooves 
us before everything else positively to ascertain that medium- 
istic phenomena exist. 

It seems to me, that this has been done for every impar- 
tial reader. This will be overwhelmingly confirmed by the 
following chapters. But there is one point on which we 
ought to dwell a moment. I mean the question of fraud, 
conscious or unconscious, which it would be natural, but 

* Notably in Uranie, in Stella, in Lumen, in L'Inconnu. See also 
above, p. 30 in my Oration at the Grave of Allen Kardec. 


unfair, to here ignore and cover up. Our judicial review 
would not be complete did we not consecrate a special chap- 
ter to these mystifications, which unhappily are too fre- 
quently employed by mediums. 



Several times in the preceding chapters the question has 
come up of fraud in the mediums. I am sorry to say that 
experimenters must be constantly on their guard against 
them. It is this which has discouraged certain eminent 
men and prevented them from continuing their researches, 
for their time is too precious to waste. This may be es- 
pecially noticed in the letter of M. Schiaparelli above (p. 
64) whom Spiritualists keep citing (wrongly) as among the 
number of their partisans. But he absolutely refuses to 
be identified with them. He accepts no theory; he is not 
even sure of the actual existence of the facts, and has de- 
clined to give the time needed for their authentication. 

I shall take occasion in the second volume of The Un- 
known to treat of Spiritualism (properly so called), of the 
doctrine of the phirality of worlds, of the plurality of exist- 
ences, of re-incarnation, of pre-existence, and of communica- 
tions with the departed, subjects independent of the ma- 
terial phenomena to a discussion of which the present work 
is devoted. To these subjects the physical manifestations 
only contribute in an indirect manner. As we have already 
several times said in the preceding pages, we are only con- 
cerned here to prove the actual existence of these extraordi- 
nary phenomena. The establishing of the proof depends 
above all upon the elimination of fraud. 

In the case of Eusapia (the medium most thoroughly ex- 



amined in the present volume) fraud, unhappily, has been 
only too well established in more than one instance. 

But a very important remark must here be made. All 
physiologists know that hysterical persons have a tendency 
to falsehood and simulation. They lie, apparently without 
reason, and solely for the pleasure of lying. There are 
hysterics among the women and young girls of the higher 

Does this characteristic defect prove that hysteria does 
not exist ? It proves just the contrary. 

Consequently, those who think that the frauds of the 
mediums give the death blow to mediumship are deceived. 
Mediumship exists, as well as hysteria, as well as hypnot- 
ism, as well as somnambulism. Trickery also exists. 

I will not say, with certain theologians, " There are false 
prophets, therefore there are true ones," for that is a soph- 
ism of the worst kind. The existence of the false does not 
hinder the existence of the true. 

I knew a kleptomaniac, who got herself arrested more 
than once in the great shops of Paris for stealing various 
articles. That does not prove that she never bought any- 
thing, and only obtained by theft all the articles she needed. 
On the contrary, the objects stolen must have represented 
but a small part of the materials of her toilet. But the fact 
that she stole is incontestable. In the experiments which 
we are considering in these pages, deception is a co-efficient 
which cannot be neglected. 

It is my duty to point out here some examples of this 
failing. Before doing so, I ought to recall the fact that for 
a period of forty years I have examined all the mediums 
whose achievements have had the widest celebrity, includ- 
ing Daniel D. Home, gifted with the most astounding pow- 
ers, who, gave at the Tuileries, before the Emperor Na- 
poleon III, his family, and his friends, such extraordinary 


seances, and who was later employed by William Crookes 
in the accurate scientific researches made by that gentleman ; 
]Vfme. Rodiere, a remarkable typtologic medium; C. Bredif, 
who produced strange apparitions; Eglington, with the en- 
chanted slates ; Henry Slade, who made with the astronomer 
Zollner those incredible experiments from which geometry 
only saved itself by admitting the possibility of a fourth 
dimension of space; Buguet whose photographic plates 
caught and held the shadows of the dead, and who, having 
allowed me to experiment with him, let me conduct my re- 
searches for five weeks before I detected his fraudulent 
methods and mechanisms; Lacroix, to whom spirits of all 
ages seemed to troop in crowds; and many others who in- 
spire deep interest in Spiritualists and scientific investi- 
gators by manifestations more or less strange and marvelous. 
I have quite often been absolutely deceived. When I 
took the precautions that were necessary to put the medium 
beyond the possibility of trickery, I obtained no result; if I 
pretended not to see anything I would perceive out of the 
corner of my eye attempts at deceit. And, in general, the 
phenomena which took place happened only in the moments 
of distraction in which my attention was for an instant 
relaxed. While I was pushing my investigation a little 
farther, I saw with my own eyes Buguet's prepared nega- 
tives; saw with my own eyes Slade writing under the table 
upon a concealed slate, and so forth. Apropos of this fa- 
mous medium Slade, I may recall the fact that after his 
experiments with Zollner, director of the observatory at 
Leipzig, he came to Paris, and for the purpose of experi- 
mentation, placed himself at my disposal (and that of all 
the astronomers at the Observatory to whom I should intro- 
duce him). He said he got direct writings from the spirits 
by a bit of pencil placed between two slates tied together, 
by oscillations of the magnetic needle, displacements of fur- 


niture, the automatic throwing about of objects, and the 
like. He was very willing to give me one seance a week, 
for six weeks (on Monday at 11 o'clock A. M., at 21 Beau- 
jon Street). But I obtained nothing certain. In the cases 
that did succeed, there was a possible substitution of slates. 
Tired of so much loss of time, I agreed with Admiral 
Mouchez, director of the Observatory of Paris, to confide 
to Slade a double slate prepared by ourselves, with the pre- 
cautions which were necessary in order that we should not 
be entrapped. The two slates were sealed in such a way 
with paper of the Observatory that if he took them apart 
he could not conceal the fraud. He accepted the conditions 
of the experiment. I carried the slates to his apartment. 
They remained under the influence of the medium, in this 
apartment, not a quarter of an hour, not a half-hour or an 
hour, but ten consecutive days, and when he sent them back 
to us there was not the least trace of writing inside ; and yet 
specimens of this were always furnished by him when he 
had the opportunity of transposing slates prepared in ad- 

Without entering into other details, let it suffice me to 
say, that, too frequently deceived by dishonest and menda- 
cious mediums, I brought to my experiments with Eusapia 
a mental reserve of scepticism, of doubt, and of suspicion. 

The conditions of experimenting are in general so crooked 
that it is easy to be duped. And scientists and scholars are 
perhaps most easily duped of all men, because scientific 
observation of experiments is always honest, since we are 
not obliged to distrust nature, when the question is of a 
star or of a molecule, and since we have the habit of de- 
scribing facts as they present themselves to our intelligence. 

* Slade was sentenced to three months of hard labor, in London, for 
swindling. He died in a private hospital, in the State of Michigan, in 
September, 1905. 


That granted, we may now look at certain curious doings 
of Eusapia. 

We considered a little farther back (p. 173) Col. de 
Rochas's strange experiment with the letter-weigher. This 
was considered by the experimenters as absolutely conclu- 
sive. I was curious to verify it. Here are my notes on 
the matter. 


November 12, 1898. This afternoon we took a drive in 
a landau (Eusapia and I) in company with M. and Mme. 
Pallotti of Cairo, and, among other things, we visited the 
exhibition of chrysanthemums at the Tuileries. Eusapia is 
enchanted. We return about 6 o'clock. My wife seats her- 
self at the piano, and Eusapia sings some Neapolitan airs 
and some little fragments of Italian operas. Afterwards 
we all three chat confidentially with each other. 

She is in a very happy state of mind, tells us how some- 
times on stormy days she experiences electric cracklings and 
sparkling in her hair, especially on an old wound that she 
once received on the head. She also tells us that when she 
has been a long time without holding a seance she is in a 
state of irritation, and feels the need of freeing herself of 
the psychic fluid which saturates her. This avowal aston- 
ishes me, for, at the end of every seance, she seems rather to 
be listless and melancholy and seems to hold a sitting rather 
unwillingly than otherwise. She adds that she frequently 
has fluidic prolongations of the ends of her fingers, and, put- 
ting her two hands on my knees, the inside of the hand 
turned upward, at the same time spreading out the fingers 
and placing them opposite each other face to face, at a dis- 
tance of several inches, and alternately bringing the hands 
together and withdrawing them, she tells us to observe from 
time to time the radiations which prolong the fingers by 
forming a sort of luminous aureole at their extremities. My 
wife thinks she perceives some of them. I am unable to see 
anything at all, in spite of all my efforts, although I change 
the light and shade in all sorts of ways. The salon is lighted 
at this time by two intense Auer burners. We go into the 


bedroom, lighted only by candles, and I cannot see them any 
better. I snuff out the candles, on the supposition that this 
is perhaps a case of phosphorescence; but I never perceive 
anything. We return to the salon. Eusapia spreads a black 
woollen shawl over her silk skirt and shows me the luminous 
effluence. But all the time I can see nothing, unless it be for 
a moment a kind of pale ray at the end of the index finger 
of her right-hand. 

The dinner hour approaches. It is seven o'clock. A let- 
ter-weigher (PI. X), which I had bought to renew the curi- 
ous experiment of M. de Rochas, is upon the table. I ask 
Eusapia if she remembers having made a piece of mechanism 
like this move downward on its spring by placing her hands 
on each side of it, at a distance, and making something like 
magnetic passes. She doesn't seem to remember anything 
about it and hums a little stanza from Santa Lucia. I beg 
that she will try it. She does so. Nothing moves. She 
asks me to place my hands on hers. We make the same 
passes, and, to my amazement (for I really was not expecting 
it at all) the little tray sinks down to the point where it 
touches the lever and produces the sharp sound of contact. 
This point is beyond the graduation of the scale, which stops 
at fifty grams, and may go to sixty, and represents seventy 
grams at the lowest. The tray immediately rises again. 
We begin a second time. Nothing. A third time : the same 
lowering and the same return to equilibrium. Then I beg 
her to try the experiment alone. She rubs her hands to- 
gether and makes the same passes. The letter weigher goes 
down to the same maximum point. We are all standing 
close by her, in the full light of the Auer burners. The 
same performance is repeated, the tray remaining down for 
an interval of about five minutes. The movement does not 
take place at once; there are sometimes three or four trials 
without success, as if the force were exhausted by the result. 
The tray had already sunk down four times before our eyes, 
always as far as the maximum point, when the valet de 
chambre, passing by upon some matter of service, I tell 
him to stop and look. Eusapia begins again and does not 
succeed. She waits a moment, rubs her hands, begins again, 
and the same movement without contact is produced for the 


seventh time, before the three witnesses, each as much as- 
tonished as the other. Her hands are sensibly chilled. I 
think of the trick of the hair, pass my hands between both 
of hers and find nothing there ; I did not see anything. Be- 
sides, she does not seem to have touched her head, and her 
hands have remained before us since the commencement of 
the experiment, free and untouched. 

On the supposition that there may be here some electric 
force in operation, I beg her to place her fingers upon an ex- 
tremely sensitive compass. In whatever way she grasps this, 
it refuses to move. 

We sit down to the dinner-table. I ask her to lift a fork 
as she had done at Montfort. At the third trial she suc- 
ceeds and without the use of a hair, at least any that was 


November 16. In order to entertain Eusapia, Adolphe 
Brisson yesterday evening offered her a box at the Folies- 
Bergere, where Loie Fuller was giving her magnificent spec- 
tacular exhibitions. We went there with her. She returned 
enchanted, is to-day very gay and very animated, speaks of 
her candid and loyal character and blames the comedies 
of fashionable life. During dinner she tells us a part of the 
story of her life. 

Nine o'clock. M. and Mme. Levy and M. G. Mathieu 
have just arrived. 

We are conversing. Placing her hands on a leg of M. 
Mathieu in the darkness she shows him the radiations ema- 
nating from her fingers, which are however scarcely apparent 
to us. 

It was after having shown me these radiations, the other 
day, that the experiment of the letter-weigher took place. 
She associates the two phenomena, and undertakes to try the 
latter again. 

She asks me to give her a little water. I go to the dining- 
room in search of a carafe and a glass. During my absence, 
M. Mathieu remarks that, while my wife is talking with M. 
and Mine. Levy, Eusapia reaches her hand to her head and 
makes a little gesture as if she were pulling out a hair. 




I return with a glass and a carafe and pour out for her 
as much as she wishes. She drinks a quarter of a glass of 
water. At my request, she moves her hands downward on 
each side of the letter-weigher in the same way as day before 
yesterday, and after two or three passes the tray sinks, not 
to its full length as day before yesterday, but to the mark 
of thirty-five or forty grains. 

The experiment was tried a second time and succeeded 
in the same way. 

Under pretext of going in search of a photographic camera 
M. Mathieu draws me into another room and shows me a 
long, very fine hair which fell into his hand after the ex- 
periment, at the moment when Eusapia was making a gesture 
as if she were going to shake his hand. 

This hair is of a rich chestnut tint (the color of Eusapia's 
hair) and measures fourteen inches in length. I have pre- 
served it. 

This took place at quarter past nine. The sitting begins 
at 9 :30 and finishes at 11 :30. After the sitting, Eusapia 
asks me for another glass of water, and shows me a little hair 
between her fingers. 

Just as she is going, at midnight, half laughingly, half 
seriously, she pulls a hair from the front part of her head 
and, taking the hand of my wife, puts this hair in it and 
closes the hand while looking her in the eye. She certainly 
noticed that we had perceived fraud. 


November 19. Eusapia is a sly one. She is gifted with 
great sharpness of sight and has unusually sensitive ears. 
She is very intelligent and is a person of rare delicacy of 
feeling. She perceives and divines everything which con- 
cerns herself. Never reading, since she doesn't know how to 
read; never writing, since she doesn't know how to write; 
speaking little when here, since she rarely finds persons who 
understand and speak Italian, she remains always concen- 
trated in herself and nothing turns her from permanent 
thought about her own personality. It would undoubtedly 
be impossible to discover a similar state of mind in the 
case of other persons ; for we, as they, are generally occupied 


with a thousand things which scatter our attention over many 
different objects. 

I arrive, at 11:30, at the rooms of Dr. Richet in order to 
escort Eusapia to Mme. Fourton's, where we are to take 
luncheon. She is cold and constrained. I pretend not to 
notice it, and keep talking with the doctor. She goes to 
put on her hat and we descend the stairs. At the foot of the 
staircase she says, " What did M. Richet say to you ? What 
were you speaking of ? " A moment after, returning in 
thought to our last seance, she says, " Were you completely 
satisfied ? " In the carriage I take her hand and converse 
with her in a friendly way. " Everything is going very 
well," I say to her ; " but some experiments will still be 
necessary in order to leave no room for doubt." Then I 
speak to her of other things. 

She becomes gradually sociable and her clouded brow 
seems to clear up. However, she evidently feels that in 
spite of my rather superficial amiability, I am not absolutely 
the same to her. During the luncheon she holds out her 
champagne glass to me and drinks my health. Mme. Fourton 
is convinced of Eusapia's genuineness, beyond all manner of 
doubt. During conversation, a little later, Eusapia says to 
her, " I am sure of you, I am sure of Mme. Blech, of 
M. Richet, of M. de Rochas; but I am not sure of M. 

" You are sure of Mme. Fourton," I replied. " Very 
well. But think for a moment of the several thousand per- 
sons who are waiting for my opinion in order to fix their 
own. M. Chiaia told you this at Naples, M. de Rochas re- 
peated it to you in Paris. You see I have a very great re- 
sponsibility and you yourself certainly see that I cannot af- 
firm that of which I am not absolutely certain. You ought 
yourself loyally to aid me in obtaining that certainty." 

" Yes," she replied, " I understand the difference very 
well. However, if it had not been for you I should not have 
made the journey from Naples, for the climate of Paris 
does not agree with me very well. Oh, certainly; we must 
have you convinced beyond the possibility of doubt." 

She has now returned to her habitual intimacy. We took 
her to the Museum at the Louvre, which she had not visited, 


then to a meeting with M. Jules Bois who was making sug- 
gestion-experiments with Mme. Lina. Eusapia is very 
much interested in these. We speak of the jests and inimick- 
ings of the comedians. 

In the evening, at dinner, the brilliant conversation of 
Victorien Sardou, the repartees of Col. de Rochas, the ques- 
tions (a little insidious) of Brisson, all interest her; but it 
is evident that she never forgets herself. Thus, before din- 
ner, she tells me that she has the headache, especially in the 
neighborhood of her wound, passes her hand through her 
hair (" which hurts her"), and asks me for a brush. " In 
order," she says, that " in case of a seance experiment, a 
stray hair shall not be found in the wrong place." And 
she carefully brushes her shoulders. I do not always appear 
to understand her. But there is no doubt that she under- 
stands that we have found a hair! 



On Thursday, March 29, Eusapia, being in Paris, came 
to see me. I had not seen her since her seances at my house 
in November, 1898. We kept her to dinner, and after dinner 
I asked her to take part with me in some experiments. 

I first asked her to place her hands upon the piano, think- 
ing that perhaps some of its strings would vibrate. But 
nothing happened. 

I then induced her to place her hands on the covered key- 
board. She asked that it be slightly opened by means of a 
little block. I placed my hands upon it, by the side of hers. 
My object was, by keeping up contact, to keep her from slip- 
ping a finger over the keys. She kept trying to substitute 
one hand for the two that I held, in such a way as to leave 
one of them free, and a few notes sounded. Result of the 
experiment, nil. We left the piano and went over to a 
white-wood table. We got some insignificant balancings. 

" Is there a spirit there ? " 

" Yes " (indicated by three raps.) 

" Does it wish to communicate ? " 

" Yes." 


I pronounce slowly and in their proper order the letters 
of the alphabet. 

Reply, "Tua matre," ("thy mother.") 

This certainly means " Tua madre." (note once more that 
Eusapia does not know how to read or write.) 

Eusapia noticed that I was in mourning and I had told 
her that my mother had died on the first of last July. I 
then asked to be told her name. (Eusapia does not know it.) 

No reply. 

The movements of the table which were next asked for 
gave no results of any particular value. 

However, a stuffed arm-chair near by was several times 
shifted out of its place without contact, advancing of itself 
toward Eusapia. Since the chandelier was lighted, and there 
was no possibility of any string being used, and since I had 
my foot upon that one of Eusapia's which was nearest the 
arm-chair, the movement must evidently have been due to a 
force emanating from the medium. 

I pushed the easy chair back three times. Three times it 
returned. The same phenomenon was reproduced several 
days afterward. 

It is observable that if she had been able to detach her 
foot from mine, she would have been able to reach the chair 
(by some little twisting,) and the production of the phe- 
nomenon must have been within the range of her circle of 
activity (and of possible trickery). But, as the case was, 
deception was impossible. 

Since we could not obtain any levitation of the table, and 
since the psychical force of the four of us (Eusapia, myself, 
my wife, and Eusapia's companion, who had joined us for 
a moment, but, who at other times, always remained apart) 
was clearly insufficient, I went and secured a lighter round 
table. Then, with her hands placed upon it in contact with 
mine, three of its feet were raised to a height of ten or twelve 
inches from the floor. We repeated the experiment three 
times, with gratifying success. Eusapia squeezed my hands 
violently in one of hers (the right hand) which rested on 
the table. 

The whole seance is thus seen to have been a web of inter- 
mingled truth and falsehood. 


These notes remind us once more that there is almost 
always a mingling of veritable fact and of fraudulent per- 

It is easy to admit that the medium, wishing to produce 
an effect, and having at her disposal for this purpose two 
means, the one easy and demanding only skill and cun- 
ning, the other distressing, costly, and painful, is tempted 
to choose, consciously or even unconsciously, that which costs 
her the least. 

The following is her method of procedure for obtaining 
the substitution of hands. The figures shown in Plate XI 
represent four successive positions of the medium's hands 
and those of the sitters. They show how, owing to the 
darkness and to a skilful combined series of movements, she 
can induce the sitter on the right to believe that he still 
feels the right hand of the medium on his own, while he 
really feels her left hand, which is firmly held by the sitter 
on the left. This right hand of hers, being then free, is 
able to produce such effects as are within its reach. 

The substitution may be obtained in different ways. But, 
whichever method is used, it is evident that the freed hand 
can only operate in a space within its reach. 

Who of us is always master of his impressions and of 
his faculties ? writes Dr. Dariex in this connection.* 
Who of us can at will put himself into such and such a 
physical condition and such and such a moral state ? Is the 
composer of music master of his inspiration? Does a poet 
always write verses of equal worth ? Is a man of genius 
always a man of genius ? Now, what is there less normal, 
more impressionable, and more capricious than a sensitive, 
a medium, especially when she is away from home, thrown 
out of the routine of her daily life, and staying with those 
with whom she is unacquainted or knows very slightly, who 
are to be her judges and who expect from her the rare and 

* Annales des sciences psyehiqucs, 1896, p. 66. 


abnormal phenomenon the production of which is not under 
the constant and complete control of her will ? 

A sensitive placed in such a situation, will have a fatal 
propensity to feign the phenomenon which does not spon- 
taneously materialize or to heighten by deceit the intensity 
of a partially successful experiment. 

This feigning is of course a very vexatious and regrettable 
thing. It throws suspicion upon the experiments, renders 
them much more difficult and less within the reach of the 
investigator. But this is only an impediment, and ought not 
to fetch us up short and lead us to give a premature de- 
cision. All of us who have experimented with and handled 
these sensitives know that at every step we run foul of fraud, 
conscious or unconscious, and that all mediums or almost 
all are used to the thing. We know that we must, unfor- 
tunately, take our share, for the moment, of this regrettable 
weakness, and be perspicacious enough to hinder, or at least 
to unearth the trickery, and to disentangle the true from 
the false. 

More than one of those who have engaged perseveringly 
in psychic experiments, can say that he has been sometimes 
enervated and irritated while waiting for a phenomenon 
which does not take place, and that he has felt something 
like a desire to put an end to this waiting by himself giving 
the extra twist or decisive touch.* 

Such experimenters can understand that if, in place of 
being conscientious workers, always masters of themselves, 
incapable of deceiving, and engaged solely in the search for 
scientific truth, they were, on the contrary, somewhat dreamy 
and impulsive persons who were susceptible to suggestion and 
whose amour propre was active, and in whose minds scientific 
probity did not hold the first and pre-eminent place, they 
would undoubtedly engage, more or less involuntarily, in the 
artificial production of phenomena which refused to take 
place in smooth and natural order. 

As to Eusapia, if she does sometimes counterfeit, she does 
it only by eluding the watchful inspection of the experimen- 
ters and by escaping for a moment from their control; but 

* We have already noticed (see p. 149) the practical joke of Pro- 
fessor Bianchi in a meeting of the moat serious investigators. 



she does it without any other artifice. Her experiments are 
not planned, and, contrary to the habit of prestidigitators, 
she does not carry any apparatus upon her person. It is 
easy to assure one's self of this, for she is very willing to 
completely undress before a lady charged with keeping watch 
of her. 

Furthermore, she exhibits her powers ad libitum with the 
same persons, and repeats indefinitely the same experiments 
before them. Prestidigitators do not act in this way. 

It is infinitely to be regretted that we cannot trust the 
loyalty of the mediums. They almost all cheat. This is 
Bxtremely discouraging to the investigator, and the constant 
3rplexity of mind we feel during our investigations renders 
lem altogether painful. When we have passed several days 
these inexplicable researches and then return to scientific 
fork, to an observation or to an astromical calculation, 
for example, or to the examination of a problem in pure 
science, we experience a sensation of freshness, calmness, 
relief, and serenity which give us, by contrast, the most 
lively satisfaction. We feel that we are walking on solid 
ground and that we have not got to distrust anybody. In- 
deed, all the intrinsic interest of psychic problems is needed, 
sometimes, to give us the courage to renounce the pleasure 
of scientific study in order to give ourselves to investigations 
so laborious and perplexed. 

I believe that there is only one way to assure ourselves of 
the reality of the phenomena, and that is to put the medium 
under conditions in which trickery is impossible. To catch 
her in the very act of deceit would be extremely easy. It 
would only be necessary to give her free rein. And then 
one can very easily aid her to cheat and to get caught. All 
that is necessary is that we be convinced of her dishonesty. 
Eusapia, especially, very easily takes suggestion. While 
going one day in an open carriage to dine at his residence, 


Colonel de Rochas said to her, in my presence, " You can't 
lift your right hand any more. Try it ! " She did try, but 
in vain. " Kon posso, non posso!" ("I can't do it, I 
can't do it! "). The mere suggestion had been sufficient. 

In the phenomena concerned with the movements of ob- 
jects without contact she always makes a gesture corre- 
sponding to the phenomenon. A force darts forth from her 
and performs the deed. Thus, for example, she. strikes with 
Lor fist three or four strokes in the air at a distance of ten 
or twelve inches from the table: the same strokes are heard 
in the table. And it is positively in the wood of the table. 
It is not beneath it, nor upon the floor. Her legs are held 
and she does not move them. She strikes five strokes with 
the middle finger upon my hand in the air: the five strokes 
are rapped upon the table (November 19). 

Xay more, this force can be transmitted by another. I 
In -Id her legs with my left hand spread out upon them; M. 
Sardou holds her left hand; she takes my right wrist in 
her right hand and says to me, " Strike in the direction of 
M. Sardou." I do so three or four times. M. Sardou feels 
upon his body my blows tallying my gesture, with the dif- 
ference of about a second between my motion and his sen- 
sation. The experiment is tried again with the same suc- 

That same evening, not only did we not let go for a single 
instant of Eusapia's hands, separated from each other by 
the width of her body and placed near our own, but we did 
not allow them to be moved from the side of the objects to 
be displaced. It took considerable time to obtain results. 
But, all the same, they w r ere wholly successful. 

She has a tendency to go and take hold of the objects ; she 
must be stopped in a good time. However, she herself does 
take hold of them, in fact, through the prolongation of her 
muscular force, and she says so : "I am grasping it, I have 


hold of it." It is our part to carefully retain her normal 
hands in ours. 

We sometimes have good reason to suspect that Eusapia 
seizes the objects to be moved (such as musical instruments) 
with one of her hands which she has freed. But there is 
plenty of proof that she does not always do so. Here is a 
case, for example. The scene is Naples, 1902, at a seance 
with Professor von Schrenck-Notzing : 

Fro. 2. 

The seance took place in a little room, by a feeble light, 
but one sufficient for us to distinguish the personages and 
their movements. Behind the medium, upon a chair, there 
was a harmonica, at the distance of about a yard. 

Now, at a certain moment, Eusapia took between her hands 
a hand of the professor and commenced to separate his 
fingers one from another and bring them together again, as 
may be seen in the accompanying cut. The harmonica was 
at that moment playing at a distance in tones that perfectly 
synchronized the movements made by Eusapia. The instru- 
ment was isolated in the room. We made sure that there 


were no threads connecting it with the medium. Still less 
could anybody fear accomplices, for the light would easily 
have betrayed their intervention. This performance A\US 
analogous to that which occurred in my presence on the 27th 
of July, 1897. (see above p. 72.) 

The following is a typical example of " sympathetic " 
movements, taken from a report by Dr. Dariex. The mat- 
ter in hand was to make a key spring out from a lock. 

The light was strong enough for us to perfectly distinguish 
Eusapia's every movement. All at once, the key of the chest 
is heard to rattle in its lock; but, caught in some unknown 
way, it refuses to budge. Eusapia grasps with her right 
hand the left of M. Sabatier, and, at the same time, curls 
the fingers of her other hand around his index finger. Then 
she begins to make alternate movements of rotation back 
and forth around his finger. We at once hear synchronous 
rattlings of the key which turns in its lock just as the fingers 
of the medium are doing.* 

Let us suppose that the chest, instead of being at a dis- 
tance from the medium, had been within her reach; let us 
still further suppose that the light, instead of being abund- 
ant, had been feeble and uncertain: the sitters would not 
have failed to confound this kind of synchronous automatism 
with conscious and impudent fraud on the part of Eusapia. 
And they would have been deceived. 

Without excusing fraud, which is abominable, shameful, 
and despicable in each and every case, it can undoubtedly 
be explained in a very human way by admitting the reality 
of the phenomena. In the first place the real phenomena 
exhaust the medium, and only take place at the cost of an 

* See Annales, 1896. The report is very rich in records. The door 
of the wardrobe opened and closed of itself, several times in succession, 
in synchronism with the movements of the medium's hands, which were 
at about a yard's distance. A toy piano weighing about two pounds 
was moved about, and played several airs all alone, etc. 


enormous expenditure of vital force. She is frequently ill 
on the following day, sometimes even on the second day 
following, and is incapable of taking any nourishment with- 
out immediately vomiting. One can readily conceive, then, 
that when she is able to perform certain wonders without 
any expenditure of force and merely by a more or less skil- 
ful piece of deception, she prefers the second procedure to 
the first. It does not exhaust her at all, and may even 
amuse her. 

Let me remark, in the next place, that, during these ex- 
periments, she is generally in a half-awake condition which 
is somewhat similar to the hypnotic or somnambulistic sleep. 
Her fixed idea is to produce phenomena; and she produces 
them, no matter how. 

It is, then, urgent, indispensable, to be constantly on the 
alert and to control all her actions and gestures with the 
greatest care. 

I could cite hundreds of analogous examples observed by 
myself in the years gone by. Here is one taken from my 

On the second of October, 1889, a spiritualistic seance 
had brought together certain investigators in the hospitable 
mansion of the Countess of Mouzay, at Rambouillet. We 
were told that we had the rare good fortune to have with us 
a veritable and excellent medium, Mme. X., the wife of a 
very distinguished Paris physician, herself well educated 
and inspiring by her character the greatest confidence. 

We arranged ourselves, four in all, around a little table 
of light wood. Scarcely a minute has passed when the 
little table seems to be taken with trembling, and almost 
immediately it rises and then falls back. This vertical move- 
ment is repeated several times in the full light of the lamps 
of the salon. 

The next day the same levitation occurred in broad day- 
light^ at noon, while we were waiting for a guest who was 


late to luncheon. This time the round table used was much 


" Is there a spirit there ? " some one asks. 

" Yes." 

" Is he willing to give his name ? " 

" Yes." 

Someone takes an alphabet, counts the letters, and receives, 
by taps made by one of the feet of the table, the name 
Leopoldine Hugo. 

" Have you something to say to us ? " 

" Charles, my husband, would like to be reunited to me." 

" But where is he ? " 

" Floating in space." 

" And you ? " 

" In the presence of God." 

" All that is very vague. Could you give us a proof of 
identity to show us that you are really the daughter of Victor 
Hugo, the wife of Charles Vacquerie? Do you remember 
the place where you died ? " 

" Yes, at Villequier." 

" Inasmuch as the accident of your shipwreck in the Seine 
is well known, and since the whole thing may be latent in 
our brains, could you please give us other facts ? Do you 
remember the year of your death ? " 

" 1849." 

" I do not think so," I replied, " for I have in my mind's 
eye a page of the Contemplations where the date of Septem- 
ber 4, 1843, is written. Has my memory played me false ? " 

" Yes. It is 1849." 

" You astonish me very much, for in 1843, Victor Hugo 
returned from Spain on account of your death, while in 1849 
he was a representative of the people in Paris. Moreover, 
you died six months after your marriage, which took place 
in February, 1843." 

At this point, the Countess of Mouzay remarked that she 
was very well acquainted with Victor Hugo and his family, 
that they were living then in the street of Latour-d' Auvergne, 
and that the date 1849 must be correct. 

I maintain the contrary. The spirit sticks to its fact. 

" In what month did the event take place ? " 


" July." 

" No, it was in September. You are not Leopoldine Hugo. 
How old were you when you died ? " 

" Eighteen years. They don't remember very often to 
decorate iny tomb with flowers." 

" Where ? " 

"At Pere-Lachaise." 

" You are wrong, it was at Villequier that you were buried, 
and I went myself to visit your tomb. Your husband, 
Charles Vacquerie is also there, with the two other victims 
of the catastrophe. You don't know what you are talking 

At this point our hostess declares that she was not thinking 
at all of Pere-Lachaise, and that, in her opinion, Leopoldine 
Hugo and her husband remained at the bottom of the Seine. 

After luncheon we sit down again at the seance table. 
Various oscillations. Then a name is dictated. 

" Sivel." 

"The aeronaut?" 

" Yes." 

" In what year did you die ? " 

"1875." (Correct.) 

" What month ? " 

"March." (It was April 15.) 

" From what point did your balloon start ? " 

"La Villette." (Correct.) 

"Where did you fall?" 

" In the river Indre." 

All these " elements " were more or less known to us. I 
ask for a more special proof of identity. 

" Where did you know me ? " 

" With Admiral Mouchez." 

" It is impossible. I first knew Admiral Mouchez at the 
time of his appointment to the directorship of the Paris 
Observatory. He succeeded Le Verrier in 1877, two years 
after your death." 

The table is agitated and dictates as follows: 

" Give your name." 

" Witold. Marchioness, I love you still." 

" Are you happy ? " 


" No, I behaved badly to you." 

" You know very well that I pardon you, and that I pre- 
serve the happiest recollection of you." 

" You are too good." 

These thoughts were evidently in the mind of the lady; 
so there was here no more proof of identity than in the other 

All of a sudden the table begins to move vigorously, and 
another name is dictated, " Ravachol." 

" Oh, what is he going to say to us ? " 

I will set down here what he said, though not without 
shame, and with all due apologies to my lady readers. Here 
it is in all its crudity: 

. " Bougres de cretins, votre sale gueule est encore plaine 
des odeurs du festin." 

(" Nasty blackguards and idiots, your dirty throat is still 
full of the odors of the feast.") 

" Monsieur Ravachol, this language of yours is exquisite ! 
Have you nothing more refined than this to say to us ? " 

"You be blowed!" 

Certainly no one of us was capable of consciously compos- 
ing such a sentence as that. But everybody knows the words 
that were used. Perhaps our conscious or sub-conscious 
thoughts spoke in them ? Did they emanate from Mme. X., 
the medium ? 

In the uncertainty into which we were plunged by these 
two seances, we asked M. and Mme. X. to come and pass a 
Sunday at Juvisy and try some new studies and tests. 

They came, and on Sunday, October 8, we obtained some 
remarkable levitations. But there are some dregs of doubt 
yet in our minds, and we make engagements for another re- 
union that day fortnight. 

On Sunday, the 22d of October, 1899, in furtherance of 
my desire to exercise careful control over the investigators, 
I had four broad boards nailed together, forming a vertical 
frame in which I placed the little table to be used during tho 
sitting. This framework made it impossible for the feet 

A Parisian Anarchist executed for dynamiting the houses of the 
Judges Benoit and Bulot. The popular chanson of the Anarchists 
called La Ravachole originated in this man's deeds and personality. See 
Alvan Sanborn's Paris and the Social Revolution, Boston, 1905. Trans. 


of the sitters to pass under the table ; and if it rose in spite 
of this, then we should know that the levitation was due 
to an unknown force. 

The remarks of Mme. X., when she saw this device, ^made 
me think at once that no levitation was going to take place. 

" This power of ours," said she, " is capricious ; on some 
days we get good results, on others none at all, and for no 
apparent reason." 

" But we shall perhaps have raps, at any rate ? " 

" Certainly. We ought not to anticipate results. One 
can always try." 

Two hours after luncheon, Mme. X. agrees to try a sitting. 
No levitation whatever occurred. 

I had some suspicions that this would be the case. I 
ardently desired the contrary, and we willed the levitation 
with all our might. I was expressly careful to have the 
same experimenters (Mme. X. and Mme. Cail, and my- 
self) as a fortnight before, when everything succeeded so 
admirably, same places, same chairs, same room, tem- 
perature, hour, etc. 

Raps indicate that a spirit wishes to speak. I notice that 
the raps correspond to a muscular movement of Mme. X.'s 

"Who are you?" 

" In the library of the master of the house my name will 
be found in a book." 

" How shall we find it ? " 

" It is written on a piece of paper." 

"In what book?" 

" Astronomia." 

"Of what date?" 

No reply. 

"Of what color?" 

" Yellow." 


" No." 


" Yes." 

"On what shelf?" 

" Hunt." 


" It impossible to go through thousands of volumes, and, 
besides, there is not such a book in the whole library." 

No reply. 

After a series of questions we learn that the book is on 
the sixth shelf of the main body of the library, to the right 
of the door. But first, we all went into the room to make 
sure it contained no such book as was described. 

" Then the volume is bound in boards ? " 

" Yes, there are four low volumes." 

" We return to the room, and, sure enough, find in a 
volume entitled Anatomia Celeste, Venice, 1573, a piece of 
paper, upon which is pencilled the name " Krishna." We 
return to the seance table. 

" Is it really you, Krishna ? " 

" Yes." 

" In what epoch did you live ? " 

" In the time of Jesus." 

" In what country ? " 

" In the neighborhood of the Himalaya mountain system." 

" And how did you write your name on this piece of 
paper ? " 

" By passing through the thought of my medium." 

Etc., etc. 

I thought it would be superfluous to persist any farther. 

Mme. X. not being able to raise the table had chosen the 
device of table rappings. The calling up of the Hindu 
prophet, however, I thought was a fine piece of audacity. 

The simplest hypothesis is that the woman went into 
my library and put the piece of paper in the book. In fact, 
she was seen there. But even had she not been, the conclu- 
sion would be no less certain. For the room was open, and 
Mme. X. had remained about an hour in the next room, 
detained by " a nervous headache." 

This specimen of mediumistic trickery is, as I have said, 
one among hundreds. Really, one must be endowed with the 
most unweariable perseverance to enable him to devote to 
those studies hours which would be much better employed 
even in doing nothing at all. However, when one has the 


conviction that something real exists he always returns, in 
spite of incessant trickery. 

In the month of May. 1901, Princess Karadja introduced 
to me a professional medium, Frau Anna Rothe, a German, 
whose specialty consisted in her alleged ability to spirit 
flowers into a tightly closed room in broad daylight. 

I made arrangements for a seance with her at my apart- 
ments in Paris. During its continuance, bouquets of flow- 
ers of all sizes, did, in truth, make their appearance, but 
always from a quarter in the room the opposite of that to 
which our attention was drawn by Frau Rothe and her 
manager, Max lentsch. 

Being well nigh convinced that all was fraud, but not 
having the time to devote to such sittings, I begged M. Gail 
to be present, as often as he could, at the meetings which 
were to be held in different Parisian salons. He gladly con- 
sented, and got invited to a seance at the Clement Marot 
house. Having taken his station a little in the rear of the 
flower-scattering medium, he saw her adroitly slip one hand 
beneath her skirts and draw out branches which she tossed 
into the air. 

He also saw her take oranges from her corsage, and as- 
certained that they were warm. 

The imposture was a glaring one, and he immediately 
unmasked her, to the great scandal of the assistants, who 
heaped insults upon him. A final seance had been planned, 
to be held in my salon on the following Tuesday. But Frau 
Rothe and her two accomplices took the train at the Eastern 
Railway station that very morning, and we saw them no 
more. In the following year she was arrested in Berlin, 
after a fraudulent seance, and sentenced to one year in jail 
for swindling. 

In this class of things, cheatings and hoaxings are as 


numerous as authenticated facts. Those who are curious in 
such things will not have forgotten the scandalous hoax and 
misdemeanor of the celebrated Mrs. Williams, an American 
woman who was received in full confidence, in 1894, in 
Paris, by my excellent friend, the Duchess of Pomar. Al- 
ready made distrustful by the ingenious observations of the 
young duke, the sitters were determined not to be the butt 
of her fooleries very long, and a sitting was agreed on. The 
participators were MM. de Watteville, Dariex, Mangin, 
Ribero, Wellemberg, Lebel, Wolf, Paul Leymarie (son of 
the editor of La Revue Spirite}, etc. 

The specialty of Mrs. Williams (who was, by the way, 
quite a stout person) was the showing of apparitions, or 
ghosts. Said apparitions proved to be manikins, rather 
poorly got up; the lady spectators, as well as the gen- 
tlemen, were quite disappointed at the absence of the rich 
and flowing outlines of form under the draperies of the 
wretched puppets. Thin and limp, tatterdemalion things, 
they showed not the faintest resemblance to the normal 
and classic contours of woman, the lines of which we 
should have been able to glimpse at least to some extent 
under the light gauze that enwrapped the figures. Several 
bright-witted, but rather irreverent, ladies took no pains to 
conceal the fact that they should prefer annihilation if it 
were necessary to be so . . . " reduced," so " incom- 
plete " in the other world ! The gentlemen added that they 
would certainly not be alone in lamenting such a state of 
things ! 

There was no religious atmosphere at all about these sit- 
tings. The imposture was discovered, or, one might rather 
say, seized, by M. Paul Leymarie. He simply grasps Mme. 
Impostor around the waist (having slipped behind the cur- 
tain for the purpose), and holds her fast for the inspection 
of the audience. Lights are brought on 2 and, in the midst 


of the confused uproar made by twenty-five duped sitters, 
the heroine of the entertainment is compelled to show her- 
self in flesh tights, while the whole apparatus of her ghostly 
puppet-show is discovered in the cabinet! 

Mrs. Williams had the effrontery to defend herself, a 
little later, in the American Journal Light, bestowing the 
playful epithet of " bandits " upon those who had unmasked 
her in Paris. 

That was a case of high mystification, of jugglery worthy 
of a street-corner mountebank. But, as we have already 
seen, matters do not usually attain to such a height of au- 
dacity, and quite often fraud only intervenes when the gen- 
uine powers have become enfeebled. This well appeared 
in the accounts of the " girl torpedo-fish," Angelica Cottin, 
who attained a good deal of notoriety. 

On the 15th of January, 1846, in the village of Bouvigny, 
near Perriere (Orne), a young girl thirteen years old, 
named Angelica Cottin, light and robust, but extremely 
apathetic in physical temperament and in morals, suddenly 
exhibited strange powers. Objects touched by her, or by 
her clothing, were forcibly repelled. Sometimes, even on 
her mere approach, people were thrown into commotion and 
excitement, and pieces of furniture and household utensils 
were seen to move and vibrate. With some variations in 
intensity, and with intermittences, sometimes, of two or 
three days, this curious virtue held good for about a month, 
then disappeared as unexpectedly as it had appeared. It 
was authenticated by a large number of persons, some of 
whom submitted the little girl to genuine scientific experi- 
ments, and embodied their observations in formal reports, 
which were collected and published by Dr. Tanchou. This 
gentleman first saw Angelica on February 12 (1846), in 
Paris, where she had been taken to be exhibited. The man- 
ifestations (which had decreased from the day when the 


basis, or usual course of her habits had been altered) were 
on the point of disappearing altogether. Yet they were still 
distinct enough to enable the investigator to draw up the 
following note, which was read to the Academy of Science, 
on February 17, by Arago, an eye-witness of the facts.* 

I saw the young " electric " girl twice (says Dr. Tanchou). 

A chair which I was holding as hard as I could with my 
foot and both hands was forcibly wrenched from me the 
moment she sat down in it. 

A little slip of paper which I held poised on one finger 
was several times carried away as if by a gust of wind. 

A dining-table of moderate size, though rather heavy, was 
more than once displaced by the mere touch of her dress. 

A little paper wheel, placed vertically or horizontally upon 
its axis was put into rapid movement by the radiations which 
darted from this child's wrist and the bend of her arm. f , 

A large and heavy sofa upon which I was seated was 
pushed with great force against the wall the moment the girl 
came to seat herself by me. 

A chair was held fast upon the floor by strong men and I 
was seated on it in such a way as to occupy only the half of 
the seat. It was forcibly wrenched away from under me as 
soon as the young girl sat down on the other half. 

One curious thing is that every time the chair is lifted it 
seems to cling to Angelica's dress. It follows her for an 
instant before it becomes detached. 

Two little elder-pith balls or feather-balls, suspended by a 
silken thread, are set in motion, attracted to each other and 
sometimes repelled. 

* See also Enquete sur ^authenticity des phenomcnes electriques 
d'Angclique Cottin. Paris, Germer Balliere, 1846. Also L'Exterior- 
isation de la motricitt, by Albert de Rochas. 

t Lafontaine, who also studied Angelica's case, says that " when she 
brought her left wrist near a lighted candle, the flame bent over hor- 
izontally, as if continually blown upon." (L'art de magnetiser, p. 

M. Pelletier observed the same thing in the case of some of his sub- 
jects, when they brought the palm of the hand near a candle. 

Specialists call these points " hypnogenic points," from which fluidic 
tl reams radiate. 

This girl's radiations of psychic force (emanations} are 
not permanently present during all the hours of the day. 
They are especially strong in the evening, from seven to nine 
o'clock, which leads me to surmise that perhaps her last 
meal (taken at six o'clock) is not without its influence. 

The emanations are given forth only from the front 
part of the body, especially at the wrist and at the bend 
of the arm. They only occur on the left side, and the arm of 
this side is of a higher temperature than that of the other. 
It gives off a gentle heat, as from a part where a lively reac- 
tion is going on. The arm trembles and is continually dis- 
turbed by unusual contractions and quiverings which seem to 
be imparted to the hand that touches it. 

During the time I observed this subject, her pulse varied 
from 105 to 120 pulsations a minute. It seemed to me fre- 
quently irregular. 

When she is isolated from the common reservoir of elec- 
tric or magnetic power, either by being seated upon a chair 
without her feet touching the floor or when placing them 
upon the chair of a person in front of her, the phenomena 
do not take place. They also cease when she is made to 
sit down on her own hands. A waxed floor, a piece of oiled 
silk, a plate of glass under her feet or on the chair, all have 
the effect of antagonizing and destroying for the time the 
electro-dynamic property of her body. 

During the paroxysm she can touch scarcely anything 
with her left hand without throwing it from her as if it 
burned her. When her clothes touch the articles of furniture 
in a room she attracts them, displaces them, and overturns 

One will understand this more easily when it is realized 
that at every electric discharge she runs away to escape 
the pain. She says " it pricks" or " stings " her in the wrist 
or bend of the elbow. Once when I was feeling for her pulse 
in the temporal artery (not having been able to in 
the left arm) my fingers chanced to touch the nape of the 
neck. She uttered a cry and drew back quickly from me. I 
several times assured myself of the fact that, near the cere- 
bellum, at the place where the muscles of the upper part of 
the neck are joined to the cranium, there is a spot so sensitive 


that she allows no one to touch it. All the sensations she 
feels in her left arm are here echoed or repeated. 

The electric emanations of this child seem to move by 
waves, intermittently, and in succession through different 
parts of the anterior portion of the body. But be that as 
it may, they are certainly accompanied by an aeriform cur- 
rent which gives the sensation of cold. I plainly felt upon 
my hand a quick puff of air like that produced by the lips. 

Every time the mysterious force strikes through her frame 
and materializes in an act, terror and dismay fill the mind 
of this child, and she seeks refuge in flight. Every time she 
brings the end of her fingers near the north pole of a piece 
of magnetized iron, she receives a severe shock; the south 
pole produces no effect. If I manipulated the iron in such 
a way that I could not myself tell the north pole on it, she 
could always tell it very well. 

She is thirteen years old and has not yet reached 
the age of puberty. I learned from her mother that nothing 
like menstruation has yet appeared. She is very strong and 
healthy, but her intellect is as yet little developed. She is a 
peasant cottager (villageoise') in every sense of the word; yet 
she knows how to read and write. Her occupation is the 
making of thread gloves for ladies. The first electric phe- 
nomena began a month ago. 

It is desirable to add to the foregoing note extracts from 
other reports. Here, for example, is a citation from M. 

On the 17th of January, that is to say, the second day 
of the appearance of the phenomena, the scissors suspended 
from her waist by a cotton tape, flew from her without the 
cord being broken, and no one could imagine how it got un- 
tied. This circumstance, incredible from its resemblance to 
the pranks of lightning, makes one think at once that elec- 
tricity must play an important role in the production of such 
astonishing effects. But this way of looking at the thing 
did not last long. For the miracle of the scissors only oc- 
curred twice, once in the presence of the cure of the village, 



who guaranteed to me upon his honor the truth of the state- 
ment. In the middle of the day almost no effects were 
obtained, but in the evening, at the usual hour, they redoubled 
in intensity. It was at that time that action without contact 
took place, and effects were produced in organic living bodies. 
These latter made their first appearance in the form of violent 
shocks felt in the ankles by one of the women laborers who 
happened at the time to be facing Angelica, the points of 
their sabots being about four inches apart. 

Dr. Beaumont Chardon, a physician of CMortagne, also 
published similar notes and observations, among others 
the following: 

The repulsion and attraction, hopping about and displace- 
ment, of a rather solid table ; of another table six feet by nine, 
mounted on casters; of another four-feet-and-a-half square 
oak table ; of a very massive mahogany easy-chair, all 
these displacements took place through contact with the 
Cottin girl's clothes, contact either involuntary or pur- 
posely brought about by experiments. 

There was a sensation of violent prickings when a stick of 
sealing-wax or a glass tube suitably rubbed was placed in con- 
tact with a bend in the left arm or with the head, or simply 
when brought somewhat near there. When the sealing-wax 
or the tube had not been rubbed, or when they were being 
wiped dry or moistened, there was a cessation of effects. 
The hairs on one's arm, made to slope or lie flat by a little 
saliva, rose up again at the approach of the child's left arm. 

I have already remarked that this young girl was brought 
to Paris as a subject of scientific observation. Arago, at the 
Observatory, in the presence of his colleagues MM. Mathieu, 
Laugier, and Goujon, established the truth of the following 
phenomena : 

When Angelica held out her hand toward a sheet of 
paper laid near the edge of a table, the paper was strongly 
attracted by the hand. Approaching a centre-table, she 


grazed it with her apron, and the table drew back from 
her. When she sat down on a chair and put her feet on tin- 
floor, the chair was thrown back violently against the wall, 
and she herself was thrown forward to the other side of the 
room. This last experiment, repeated several times, always 
succeeded. Neither Arago nor the astronomers of the Ob- 
servatory were able to hold the chair down. M. Goujon, who 
had sat down in advance upon one half of the chair which 
was going to be used by Angelica, was upset at the moment 
when she came to share the seat with him. 

Following a favorable report of its illustrious perpetual 
secretary,* the Academy of Science named a commission to 
examine Angelica C'ottin. This commission confined its 
efforts exclusively to the task of determining whether or not 
the electrical force of the subject was similar to that of the 
machines or that of the torpedo-fish. They could not come 
to any conclusion, probably on account of the emotion excite.l 
in the girl at the sight of the formidable apparatus of ex- 
perimentation ; and then her peculiar powers were already 
on their decline. Thus the commission hastened to declare 
all the communications on this subject made to the Academy 
previous to this to be null and void. 

Upon this topic my old master and friend Babinet, who 
was a member of the commission, wrote as follows: 

The members of the commission were not able to verify 
any of the features announced. There was no report made, 
and Angelica's parents, worthy people of the most exemplary 
probity, returned with her from Paris to their own locality. 
The good faith of this couple and of a friend who accompan- 
ied them interested me very much, and I would have given 
anything in the world to find some reality in the wonders 
that had been proclaimed about the girl. The only remark- 
able thing she did was to rise from her chair in the most 

Arago. Trans. 


matter of fact way in the world and hurl it behind her with 
such force that often the chair was broken against the wall. 
But the supreme experiment, that in which, according to 
her parents, the miracle was revealed of motion produced 
without contact, was as follows : She was placed standing 
before a light centre-table covered with a thin silken stuff. 
Her apron also made of a very light and almost transparent 
silk, rested on the centre-table (though this last condition was 
not indispensable). Then, when the electric force appeared, 
the table was overturned, while " the electric girl " main- 
tained her usual stupid impassivity. I had never personally 
seen any success attained in this particular feature of the 
girl's performances; nor had my colleagues of the commis- 
sion of the Institute, nor the physicians, nor certain writers, 
who, with great assiduity, had attended all the seances ap- 
pointed at the headquarters of the girl's parents in Paris. 
As for myself, I had already overstepped all the bounds of 
friendly complaisance, when, one evening the parents came to 
beseech me, in virtue of the interest I had shown in them, to 
attended one more seance, saying that the electric force was 
going to declare itself anew with great energy. I arrived 
about eight o'clock in the evening at the hotel where the 
Cottin family was staying. I was disagreeably surprised at 
finding a seance intended only for myself, and the friends 
whom I brought with me, overrun by a crowd of physicians 
and journalists who had been attracted by the announcement 
of the prodigies which were to begin again. After due ex- 
cuses had been made I was introduced to a back room which 
served as dining-room, and there I found an immense kitchen 
table made of oak planks of an enormous thickness and 
weight. At the moment when dinner was being served the 
electric girl had, by an act of her will (it was said), over- 
turned this massive table, and, as a necessary result, broken 
all the plates and bottles that were on it. But her excellent 
parents did not regret the loss, nor the poor dinner that re- 
sulted from it, on account of the hope that animated them 
that the marvellous qualities of the poor idiot were going to 
manifest themselves and receive the official stamp of authen- 
ticity. There was no possibility of doubting the veracity of 
these honest witnesses. An octogenarian who accompanied 


me (M. M. , the most sceptical of men) believed their re- 
cital as I did; but, after entering with me the room full of 
people, this distrustful observer took his stand in the very 
entrance-door, alleging as a pretext the crowd in the room, and 
BO placed himself as to have a side view of the electric girl 
with her centre-table before her. The crowd that faced the 
girl occupied the farther end and the sides of the room. 

After an hour of patient waiting, and all in vain, I with- 
drew, expressing my sympathy and my regrets. M. M. re- 
mained obstinately at his post lie pointed the electric girl 
with his unwearied eye, as a crouching setter does a partridge. 
At last, at the end of another hour, when the attention of the 
company was distracted by innumerable preoccupations and 
several centres of conversation had been formed suddenly 
the miracle occurred : the centre-table was overturned. Great 
amazement! great expectations! They were just beginning 
to cry '' Bravo I " when M. M., advancing by warrant of age 
and the love of truth, declared that he had seen Angelica, by a 
convulsive movement of the knee, push the table that was 
placed before her. He drew the conclusion that the effort she 
must have made before dinner in the overturning of the heavy 
kitchen table would have occasioned a severe contusion above 
her knee, a matter that was investigated and found to be 
true. Such was the end of this melancholy affair in which 
so many people had been duped by a poor idiot, who yet had 
enough crafty cunning to inspire illusion by her very calm- 
ness and impassivity. We have still to account for the singu- 
lar facts observed near Rambouillet (see the Reports of the 
Academy), at the house of a wealthy manufacturer, all whose 
vases and other vessels of pottery-ware burst into a thousand 
pieces at the moment when least expected. Kettles and other 
large vessels cast in metal also flew into fragments, to the 
great loss of the proprietor, whose troubles, however, ceased 
with the discharge of a servant, who had come to an under- 
standing with a man who was to occupy the factory so that he 
might get it at a better bargain. Nevertheless, it is to be 
regretted that the matter ended before it was discovered what 
fulminating powder had been employed to produce such cur- 
ious results, so new, and, apparently, so well proved. * 

* t udes et lectures sur lea sciences cT 'observations, vol. II., I860. 

Babinet adds farther on in the same volume the follow- 
ing remarks on Angelica Cottin : 

In the midst of wonders which she did not perform there 
was seen a very natural effect of the first relaxation of muscles 
which was curious in the highest degree. The girl, of slight 
figure and torpid physique, who was correctly styled the 
" torpedo-fish," being first seated on a chair and then rising 
very slowly (in the midst of the movement she was making 
in the act of rising) had the power of throwing backward, 
with terrifying suddenness, the chair she was leaving, without 
anybody being able to perceive the slightest movement of the 
trunk of the body, and solely by the relaxation of the muscle 
which had been in contact with the chair. At one of the test- 
seances in the laboratory of physics at the Jardin des Plantes, 
several amphitheatre chairs of white wood were hurled 
against the walls in such a way as to break them. A second 
chair, which I had once taken the precaution to place behind 
that in which the electric girl was seated (for the purpose of 
protecting, if need were, two persons who were conversing at 
the back part of the room) was drawn along with the pro- 
pelled chair and went with it to arouse from their absent- 
mindedness the two savants. I will add that several young 
employees at the Jardin des Plantes succeeded in performing 
although in a less brilliant way this pretty trick in 
bodily mechanics. In order to get a good idea of this play 
of the muscles by a similar effect, you have only to gently 
squeeze that part of the muscle of some one's arm that is 
most developed, at the same time that he makes the motion 
of opening and closing his fist several times. You will at 
once feel the swelling up of the muscles and divine the move- 
ment that would result from it were the change of shape 
made very rapid: 

Such is the report of the learned physicist. It is thus 
that fraud once more hindered the recognition of the reality 
of phenomena that had been duly proved before. Accom- 
panying this there was also a weakening of the faculties 
of the performer. But it is absurd to conclude from this 


that the observers of the earlier days in this case (including 
Arago and his colleagues of the Observatory, Mathieu, 
Laugier, and Goujon, as well as the examiner Ilebert, 
Dr. Beaumont Chardon, and others) were poor observers, 
and were deceived by movements of the foot of this child. 

We may allow for the fraud, conscious and unconscious 
of mediums. We may deplore it, for it throws an unpleas- 
ant gloom upon all the phenomena ; but let us render justice 
to incontestable facts, and continue to observe them. 

Quaere et invenies! Seek and thou shall find. The Un- 
known, the science of to-morrow. 



One of the most important series of experiments that has 
been made on the subject of moving tables is that of Count 
Agenor de Gasparin at Valleyres, Switzerland, in Septem- 
ber, October, November, and December of the year 1853. 
The Count has published formal reports of these studies in 
two large volumes.* These seances may be called purely 
scientific, for they were conducted with the most scrupulous 
care and were under the severest control. The table usually 
employed had a round oak top thirty-two inches in diameter, 
which rested on a heavy three-footed central column, the 
feet being about twenty-two inches apart. There were usu- 
ally ten or twelve experimenters, and they formed the chain 
on the table by touching each other with their little fingers 
in such a way that the thumb of the left hand of each opera- 
tor touched that of his right hand, and the little finger of 
the right hand touched that of the left hand of his neighbor. 
In the opinion of the author, this chain is useful, but not 
absolutely necessary. The rotation of the table usually 
began after a waiting of five or ten minutes. Then it lifted 
one foot to a height that varied from time to time, and fell 
back again. The levitation took place even when a very 
heavy man was seated on the table. Rotations and levita- 
tions were obtained without the contact of hands. But let 
us hear the author himself : 

* Dea Tables toumantes, du Surnaturel en gn6ral, et des Esprits, 
par le comte Agenor de Gasparin, Paris, Dentu, 185%. 



It is a question of positive fact that I wish to solve. The 
theory will come later. To prove that the phenomenon of 
turning tables is real and of a purely physical nature; that 
it can neither be explained by the mechanical action of our 
muscles nor by the mysterious action of spirits, such is my 
thesis. It is my wish to state it with precision and circum- 
scribe its limits here at the very start. I confess I find 
some satisfaction in meeting with unanswerable proofs the 
sarcasms of people who find it easier to mock than to exam- 
ine. I am well aware that we have got to put up with 
that. No new truth becomes evident without having been 
first ridiculed. But it is none the less agreeable to reach the 
moment when things assume their legitimate place, and when 
roles cease to be inverted. This moment might have been 
long in coming. For a long time I feared that table-phenom- 
ena would not admit of a definite scientific demonstration; 
that, while they inspired absolute certainty in the minds of 
the operators and witnesses at first hand, they would not fur- 
nish irrefutable arguments to the public. In the presence 
of bare possibilities, each person would be free to cherish his 
own particular opinion; we should have had believers and 
sceptics. The classification would have taken place in virtue 
of tendencies rather than by reason of one's knowledge or 
ignorance of the facts. Some, in the agreeable sensation of 
their intellectual superiority, would have carried their head 
very high, and others would have abandoned themselves in 
despair to the current superstitions of the day. The truth 
incompletely demonstrated would have been treated as a lie, 
and, what is worse, would have ended by becoming such. 

But thank God ! it will not be so now. Our meetings were 
real and formal seances, to which the best hours of the day 
were given. The results, verified with the most minute care, 
were embodied in formal and official declarations. I have 
these proces-verbaux before me now, and it seems to me that 
I could not do better than to take up one after another and 
extract from each the interesting observations it may con- 
tain. I shall thus follow the method of certain historians, 
and relate the truth rather than systematize it. The reader 
will, as it were, follow us step by step. He will examine 
and check my various assertions by comparing them; he will 


form his own conviction, and will judge whether my proofs 
have that character of frequent occurrence, of persistency, 
of progressive development which false discoveries, based 
upon some fortuitous and poorly described coincidence, never 

These are promising premises. We shall see whether 
the promises will be kept. The report (or minutes) of the 
first meeting bears the date of September 20, 1853. Numer- 
ous seances had been held before, but it had not been 
thought necessary to write down the results. What those re- 
sults were will be seen by the following brief account : 

Only those have an invincible conviction (writes Count de 
Gasparin ) who have participated in seance studies frequently 
and directly, who have felt under their very fingers the pro- 
duction of those peculiar movements which the action of our 
muscles cannot imitate. They know the limitations of their 
powers and where to stop. For they have seen the table 
refuse to rotate at all, in spite of the impatience of the investi- 
gators, and in spite of their clamorous appeals. Then again, 
they have been present when it started to move so gently, so 
softly and spontaneously started, it can be said, under fin- 
gers which hardly touched it. They have at times seen 
the legs of the table (riveted by some enchantment to the 
floor) refuse to budge on any terms, in spite of the incite- 
ment and coaxing of those who composed the chain. On 
other occasions they have seen the same table-legs perform 
levitations that were so free and energetic that they antici- 
pated the hands, got the start of the orders, and executed 
the thoughts almost before they were conceived, and with 
: an energy well-nigh terrifying. They have heard with their 
own ears stunning raps and gentle raps, the one threatening 
to break the table, the others of such incredible fineness and 
delicacy that one could scarcely catch the sounds, and none 
of us could in any degree imitate them. They have re- 
marked that the force of the levitations is not diminished 
when the sitters are removed from the side of the table that 
is to form the fulcrum. They have themselves commanded 


the table to lift that one of its legs over which rc.-t the only 
hands that compose that portion of the chain still ivnmininii, 
and the leg has risen as often and as high as they \\i-hrd. 
They have observed the table in its dances when it beats 
the measure with one foot or with two; when it reproduces 
exactly the rhythm of the music that has just boon sung; 
when, yielding in the most comic way to the invitation to 
dance the minuet, it takes on grandmotherly airs, sedatoly 
makes a half turn, curt -i<-s and thon comes forward turning 
the other sidel The manner in which the events took place 
told the experimenters more than the events themselves. 
They were in contact with a reality which soon made itself 

The persevering experiments we had made before the 20th 
of September had already given us proof of two principal 
things, the levitation of a weight that the muscular action 
of the operators was powerless to move, and the reproduction 
of numbers by mind reading. 

I shall now give the formal declarations or reports, by 
Count de Gasparin, or at least the essential parts of them. 
I shall present them here as the author has done, seance after 
seance. The reader will judge. He is urged to read the 
reports with the greatest attention. They are scientific doc- 
uments of the highest value, and quite as important as the 
preceding ones. 

Seance of September 20 

Some one proposed the experiment which consists in caus- 
ing a table to rotate and give raps while it has on it a man 
weighing say a hundred and ninety pounds. We accordingly 
placed such a man on the table, and the twelve experimenters, 
in chain, applied their fingers to it. 

The success was complete: the table turned, and rapped 
several strokes. Then it rose up entirely off the floor in such 
a way as to upset the person who was upon it. Let me be 
permitted hero, in passing, to make a general remark. We 
had already had numerous meetings. Our experimenters, 


among whom were several young ladies of delicate physique, 
had worked with very unusual perseverance and energy. 
Their bodily fatigue at the end of each sitting was naturally 
very great. It seems as if we should therefore have ex- 
pected some nervous collapses more or less grave, to show 
themselves among us. If explanations based upon involun- 
tary acts performed in a state of extraordinary excitement 
had the least foundation in fact, we should have had trances, 
almost possessions, and, at any rate, nervous attacks. Now, 
in spite of the exciting and noisy character of our meetings, 
it did not happen, in five months time, that any one of us 
experienced a single moment of indisposition or sickness of 
any kind. We learned something more : when a person is in 
a state of nervous tension, he or she becomes positively unfit 
to act upon the table. It must be handled cheerfully, 
lightly, and deftly, with confidence and authority, but with- 
out passion. This is so true that the moment I took too 
much interest in things I ceased to obtain obedience. If, 
on account of public discussions in which I had been engaged, 
I chanced to desire success too ardently and to grow impatient 
over delay, I had no longer any control over the table ; it re- 
main inert. 

Seance of September 2Jf. 

We began pretty poorly, and were almost inclined to think 
that the net result of the day's experiments would be 
limited to the two following observations, which have their 
value, to tell the truth, and which our experience has always 
confirmed : First, there are days when nothing can be done, 
nothing prospers, although the sitters are as numerous, as 
strong, and as excited as ever, which proves that the move- 
ments of the table are not obtained by fraud or by the involun- 
tary pressure of the muscles. Second, there are persons 
(those among others who are sickly or fatigued) whose pres- 
ence in the chain is not only of no use, but even detrimental. 
Destitute themselves of the fluidic force, they seem, besides, 
to hinder its circulation and transmission. Their good will, 
their faith in the table are of no avail ; as long as they are 
there the rotations are feeble, the levitations spiritless, the 
drafts drawn on the table are not honored ; that one of its feet 


facing them is especially struck with paralysis. Beg them to 
retire, and immediately the vitality appears again and every- 
thing succeeds as if by magic. Indeed, it was only after we 
had taken this course that we finally obtained the free and 
energetic movements to which we had been accustomed. We 
had become quite discouraged; but when the purging of 
which 1 have just spoken took place, lo, what a change 1 
.Nothing seems difficult to us. Kvm those who (like my- 
self) ordinarily have only mediocre success, now think of 
numbers and make the table rap them out with complete 
success, or with the slight imperfection (that frequently oc- 
curs) of a tap too many, owing to the delay in giving the 
mental order to stop the taps. 

Seeing that everything was going according to our wish, 
and having decided to try the impossible, we next undertake 
an experiment which marks our entrance into a wholly new 
phase of the study and places our former experimental demon- 
strations under the guarantee of a positively irrefutable dem- 
onstration. We are going to leave probability behind and 
dwell with evid-n<v. We are going to make the table move 
without touching it. And this is how we succeeded that first 

At the moment when the table was whirling with a pov 
ful and irresistible rotation, at a given signal we all lifted our 
fingers. Then keeping our hands united by means of tin- 
little fingers, and continuing to form the chain at a height of 
say an eighth or a quarter of an inch above the table, we con- 
tinued our circular movement. To our great surprise the 
table did the same; it made in this way three or four turns! 
We could scarcely believe our good fortune; the by-standers 
(witnesses) could not keep from clapping their hands. And 
the way in which the rotation took place was as remarkable as 
the rotation itself. Once or twice the table stopped follow- 
ing us because the little accidents and interruptions of our 
march had withdrawn our fingers from their regular dis- 
tance from the top of the table. Once or twice the table 
had come to life again if I may so express myself when 
the turning chain had again got into the right relation with 
it. We all had the feeling that each hand had carried along 
in its course that portion of the table immediately beneath it. 


Seance of September 29 

We were naturally impatient to submit rotation without 
contact to a new test. In the confusion of the first success 
we forgot to renew and vary this decisive experiment. When 
we got to thinking about it afterwards we saw that it be- 
hooved us to do the thing over again with more care and in 
the presence of new witnesses; that it was, above all, im- 
portant to produce the movement and not merely to con- 
tinue it, and to produce it in the form of levitations in- 
stead of limiting it to rotations. Such was the program of 
our meeting of September 29. Never was program carried 
out with greater precision. As a preliminary, we repeated 
our successful feat of the 24th. While the table was rotating 
rapidly, the interlocked hands were lifted from it, though 
continuing to turn above it and form the chain. The table 
followed, making now one or two revolutions, and now a 
half or a quarter turn only. The success, more or less pro- 
longed, was certain. We confirmed it several times. But 
some one might say that, the table being already in motion, 
the momentum carried it along mechanically while we im- 
agined it was yielding to our fluidic force. The objection 
was absurd, and we would have challenged anybody to ob- 
tain a single quarter of a turn without forming the chain, 
however rapid might have been the rotation imparted. 
Above all, would we have challenged anyone to renew its 
motion when it had been for an instant suspended. How- 
ever, it is well in such cases to forestall even absurd objec- 
tions, however little of plausibility they may have. And this 
particular objection might seem plausible to the inattentive 
man. It was imperative, then, that we should produce rota- 
tion starting from a state of complete inertia. This we did. 
The table being as motionless as we were, the chain of hands 
parted from it and began to turn slowly at a height of about 
three-eighths of an inch above its edge. In a moment the 
table made a slight movement, and each of us striving to draw 
along by his will that part situated under his own fingers, 
we succeeded in drawing the disk in our train. The de- 
tails that followed resembled those of the preceding case. 
There is such difficulty in maintaining the chain in the air 


without breaking it, in keeping it near the border of tho 
table without going too quick and thus destroying tho 
harmonious relation established, that it often happens that 
the rotation stops after a turn or a half-turn. Yet it M 
sometimes prolonged during three or even f>ur n -volutions. 
We expected to encounter still greater obstacles when we 
should undertake levitation without contact. But the matter 
turned out quite otherwise. This is easily explained when 
we remember that in this case there is no circular movement 
and it is much easier to maintain the normal position of th<> 
hands above the table. The chain, then, being formed at a 
distance of an eighth of an inch or so above the round t|> 
of the table, we ordered one of its legs to lift itself up, and 
it did so. 

We were highly delighted, and repeated this pretty 
periment many times. Without touching it in any way, we 
ordered the whole table to rise into the air, and to resist the 
witnesses, who had to put forth effort to hrint: it down to the 
floor. We commanded it to turn bottom side up, and it 
fell over with its feet in the air, although we never touched 
it with our fingers, but kept them in advance of it as it fell, 
at the distance agreed upon. 

Such were the essential results of this meeting. They 
are such that I hesitate to mention in the same connection in- 
cidents of secondary importance. 

I will only say, in passing, that the seanee was very 
discouraging at the start ; for, not only was it found neces- 
sary to remove certain new operators, but several of the old 
ones did not bring to it their usual high spirits. The table 
responded poorly; raps were made faintly and as if with 
reluctance; the telepathic reading of numbers did not suc- 
ceed. Then we took a resolution from which we derived 
much benefit: we persevered, and persevered gaily; we sang, 
we made the table dance; we gave up all thoughts of new 
experiments and persisted in easy and amusing ones. After 
a while conditions changed; the table fairly bounded, and 
hardly waited for our orders; we were now in condition to 
try more serious things. 


Seance of October 7 

A long meeting, and very fatiguing. It was principally 
devoted to the trial of various mechanical devices which had 
no success whatever, such as metal rings; frameworks of 
canvas or of paper placed upon the table; plates on pivots; 
and spring-keys. Whether the sight of all this gear hindered 
the radiation of the fluidic force from the operators, whether 
the contrivances themselves stopped its circulation in the 
table, or whether, in fine, the natural conditions of the phe- 
nomenon were disturbed in some other way, it is certain that 
the results amounted to nothing or were doubtful. 

One new experiment succeeded. A plate turning on a 
pivot held a tub. I filled this tub with water, and two 
of my collaborators and I plunged our hands into it. We 
formed the chain and began a circular walk, being careful 
not to touch the tub. This at once imitated our movement. 
We repeated the thing several times in succession. 

Since it might be supposed that the impulse given to the 
water would suffice to set in motion a tub resting on so deli- 
cately balanced a plate, we at once proceeded to prove the 
contrary. The water was given a circular whirl causing it 
to move with much greater rapidity than when we formed 
the chain; but the tub moved not a peg. Undoubtedly the 
point remains to be considered whether one of us three did 
not touch the inside of the tub and so determine its move- 
ment. To that I reply, first, that the way in which our 
hands were held in the water obviously proves that none 
of our fingers could really touch bottom; secondly, that, 
taking pains as we did to form the chain at the centre, it 
would have been scarcely less difficult for us to touch the 
vertical sides of the tub. 

And yet, the doubt being not wholly inadmissible, I class 
this experiment among those of which I do not purpose to 
make any use. I wish to show that I am hard to please in 
the matter of evidence. 

The proof which the rapping of numbers by mind-reading 
furnishes has always seemed to be one of the most convinc- 
ing. In the sitting I am describing, it had this special 
feature, that each of the ten operators in turn received 


the communication of a number in writing, the others hav- 
ing their eyes shut Now, in the whole ten, one alone failed 
to obtain perfect obedience from the table-leg which had been 
assigned to him by very auspicious witnesses, 01 by -slanders. 
If my readers will reflect carefully they will see that the 
combinations of movements communicated and of cheating 
tricks which such a solid result as this would require passes 
far beyond the bounds of admissible things. To ju 
it the objector must invent a miracle much more astounding 
than ours. 

Let us turn again to the finest of all demonstrations, that 
of levitation without contact. We began by performing it 
three times. Then, since it was thought by some that the 
inspection of the witnesses could be carried on in a surer way 
in the case of a small table than in that of a large one, and 
with five operators more certainly than with ten, we had a 
plain deal centre-table brought which the chain, reduced by 
half, sufficed to put in rotation. Then the hands were 
lifted, and, contact with the table being entirely broken, it 
rose seven times into the air at our command. 

Seance of October 8 

Two circumstances occurred to confirm the results we had 
obtained in preceding seances. Among the numbers selected 
for the thought-test the roguery of one of the witnesses had 
placed a zero, and the leg selected by him to respond was at 
the left of the operator and beyond the reach of his muscular 
action. Now, the command having been given to the leg and 
no action resulting, we were all feeling disconsolate, being 
convinced that our weakness that day was so great that we 
were not going to obtain even simple levitations. I affirm 
most emphatically that if movement had ever been imparted 
by an experimenter to a table log, it would have appeared 
at that moment. Our nerves were in an exalted state and 
our impatience was at its height. Yet no movement of the 
table took place, and we were consequently all the more 
solaced when we learned that the figure communicated had 
been a cipher. 

Movement without contact was accomplished twice. 

To our experiment of a table that gave raps while having 


a man upon it, it had been objected that this man might lend 
his aid to the movement, and even incite it in part. Deter- 
mined to seek out the truth with the most anxious care, we 
had recognized a certain plausibility in this objection, and 
had decided to meet it fairly. The being who was living, 
intelligent, and consequently suspected must be replaced by 
an inert weight. Buckets filled with sand must be placed 
in the precise centre of the table, which should then be 
called on to exhibit its skill. 

But the day was badly chosen. After we had placed on 
the table two buckets, one upon the other, both weighing in 
all 143 pounds, it was discovered that we were unable to pro- 
duce the levitation. It was necessary for us to content our- 
selves with continuing them in circular movement after 
they had been started. The buckets were removed, the table 
was set in motion, and the buckets replaced while the move- 
ment was at its height. They did not arrest it in the least, 
but were carried around with such force that the sand flew 
out on all sides. 

The remainder of the sitting was given up to an investiga- 
tion of the subject of (alleged) divination, or guessing. 

When the table was asked to guess something known to one 
of the members of the chain, it pretty frequently and quite 
naturally happened that it guessed it. It is the case of 
thought-reading by numbers, nothing more, nothing less. 

When it is asked to guess a thing known to a member 
of the company who does not form at the time a part of 
the chain, it happens sometimes that it guesses it. But 
the person in question must be endowed with great fluidic 
power and be able to exercise it at a distance. We did not 
ourselves obtain anything like this; but others have suc- 
ceded, and their testimony seems too well established to be 
called in question. 

Up to the present moment, it is plain, there is not the least 
trace of divination. It is fluidic action, near-by or distant. 

If the tables divine, if they think, if there are spirits, we 
ought to get decisive responses in the case where no one knows 
the facts, either in the chain or out of the chain. The prob- 
lem thus stated, the solution is not difficult. 

Take a book. Do not open it, but invite the table to read 


the first line of the page you will designate, say page 162 
or page 354. The table will not flinch: it will rap, and 
will compose words for you. It was thus, at least, that it 
always acted with us. At any rate, one thing is certain, that 
neither here nor else \\lie IT, has any spirit, however cunning, 
read, this simple line; nor will it be able in the future to 
do 90. 1 recommend the experiment to the partisans of spirit 

As to the test of pieces of money in a purse, hours, 
I lay ing-cards etc., the tables betake themselves to a strict 
calculation of probabilities; they guess just as much as you 
do, or as I do. Ina-nmeh as it is a question of small 
numbers of which one can form in advance an approximate 
idea, the range of possible combinations is not very extensive. 
The mind fixes upon a number which has a fairly good 
chance of being the true one, and the proportion between 
the failures of the table and its successes is in such a case 
just what it would be apart from all question of miraculous 

Seance of November 

Before entering upon the description of this sitting, a 
very remarkable one, I will say that neither the thermome- 
ter nor the mariners' compass have furnished the slightest 
indication of anything interesting. I thought I ought to 
note this, in passing, to show to the reader that we did not 
neglect to employ instruments which seemed likely to put 
us in the way of obtaining a scientific explanation. In 
general, I pass by that phase of our work, as well as the 
different trials which remained merely trials, and did not 
lead to any positive results. 

Our first care was to renew the experiment of the levitation 
of an inert weight It was agreed among us this time that 
we would always start from the state of absolute immobility 
in the object: we wanted to produce movement, not to con- 
tinue it. 

The centre of the table, then, having been fixed with nice 
precision, a first tub of sand, weighing 46 pounds, was placed 
upon it. The legs easily rose from the floor when they got 
the order. 


A second tub, weighing 42 pounds, was next placed in the 
middle of the other. They were both lifted less easily, 
but very neatly and clearly. 

Then a third tub, smaller, and weighing 28% pounds, was 
placed on top of the two others. The levitations took place. 
We had still further got ready enormous stones weighing 
altogether 48 ^ pounds. They were placed on the third tub. 
After rather long hesitation, the table lifted several times in 
succession each of its three legs. It lifted them with a force, 
a decision, an elan, which surprised us. But its strength, 
already put to so many proofs, could not resist this last one. 
Bending under the powerful swaying motion imparted by 
the total mass of 165 pounds, it suddenly broke down, and its 
massive centre-post was split from top to bottom to the 
great peril of the operators on the side of whom the entire 
load rolled off. 

I shall not stop to comment on such an experiment. It 
answers all demands. Our united muscular force would not 
have sufficed to determine the movements that took place. A 
mass of inert matter free from the suspicion of being oblig- 
ing, had replaced the person whose complicity was held in 
suspicion. Finally, when the three legs had been lifted, each 
in turn, critics no longer had as a resource the insinuation 
that we had caused the weight to be laid more on one side 
than on the other. 

Inasmuch as our poor table had been wounded on the field 
of honor and could not be repaired on the spot, we got a new 
one which much resembled it. But it was a little larger and 
a little lighter. 

The interesting point was to be settled whether we were 
going to be obliged to wait for it to be charged with the psy- 
cho-physical fluid. The occasion was a famous one for solv- 
ing this important problem : Where does the fluid reside ? 
in the operators or in the piece of furniture. The solu- 
tion was as prompt as it was decisive. Scarcely had our 
hands, in chains, been placed upon this second table than it 
began to revolve with the most unexpected and the most 
comic rapidity ! Evidently, the fluid was in us, and we were 
free to apply it in succession to different tables. 

We lost no time. In the mood in which we then were, 


movement without contact must succeed better than ever. 
Nor did we deceive ourselves in so thinking. We first d< 
oped rotations without contact to the numlier of five or si 

As to levitations without contact, we discovered a method 
of proceeding that renders their success easier. The chain, 
formed a few millimetre* above the top disk, is arranged BO 
a* to go in the direction in which the movement is to take 
place ; the hands the nearest to the leg called on to rise are 
outside of and beyond the top ; they draw near and pass grad- 
ually by, while the bands that are opposite, and which had 
at first advanced toward the same leg, move away from 
it while they attract it. It is during this progression of 
the chain, while all our wills are fixed upon a particular spot 
on the wood, and when the order* to levitate are forcibly 
given, that the foot quits the ground and the table-top follows 
the hands, to the point of upsetting, if one did not keep 
hold of it. 

This Irritation without contact was produced about thirty 
times. We produced it by each of the three legs in succes- 
sion, in order to remove every pretext for criticism. More- 
over, we watched the bands with scrupulous care. If the 
reader will please observe that this surveillance was exercised 
during thirty operations without detecting the slightest con- 
tact, I think it will be concluded that the reality is hence- 
forth placed beyond all doubt. 

Seance of November 1 

The chief characteristic of this stance was the absence of 
that one of our number who exercised the greatest authority 
at the tal>le.* In working without her we were put in a 
position to establish two things: first, that one cannot with 
impunity do without an extraordinary gifted experimenter ; 
and, second, that one can, nevertheless, do without him or 
tier, if it is absolutely necessary, and that success, although 
loss brilliant in this case, is not impossible. I call speri.i! 
attention to this last point, as well as to the frequent modifi- 
cations of our personnel, for the benefit of suspicious persons 
who, not knowing the mental worth of the persons in cj 
tion, might be disposed to place to the account of their dex- 

The lady who soon after waa styled " the medium." 


terity the results to which they essentially contribute. The 
psycho-physical working power of a u sensitive " table-turner 
is of a mixed nature : a resolute posture and a circular move- 
ment are not sufficient to give birth to it. Besides this, and 
above all, there is needed the will. 

Our will having at last asserted itself, and muscular pres- 
sure having yielded its place to the pressure of commands, 
the fluidic rotation arrives, after five or six minutes of con- 
centration of our thoughts. We felt, indeed, keenly that 
some important person was lacking and that we did not pos- 
sess our usual power. However, we were determined to suc- 
ceed, even at the price of greater mental fatigue. 

So we took up boldly our most difficult feat ; namely, move- 
ments without contact. Rotations without touch were ob- 
tained thrice. I should add that they were very incomplete, 
a quarter of a turn, or a half-turn at most. 

As to levitations without touch our success was more decis- 
ive ; but it was purchased at the price of a very considerable 
expenditure of force. After each levitation we had to rest, 
and, when we had reached No. 9 we were absolutely obliged 
to stop, overcome with fatigue. One must have had personal 
knowledge of such experiments to understand what drafts 
they make upon one's attention and energy, and at what point 
it is indispensible to will, and to will peremptorily, that 
such and such a knot of wood in the table shall follow the 
opened fingers that are alluring it at a distance. 

But be that as it may, our attempt was crowned with 
success, and we could end the sitting with less exhausting 

The idea came to us then and there to try our powers on a 
large table with four legs. It had often been claimed that 
three-legged centre-tables alone would respond to our man- 
ipulations. It was time to furnish undeniable proof to the 
contrary. So we took a table three feet five inches in di- 
ameter, a folding half of which (independent of the leg that 
supports it when it is raised) can be turned up at will. 

Scarcely were our fingers in place than the table began 
a rotation with noisy bustle, the sprightliness of which sur- 
prised us. It thus showed that tables with four legs were no 
more refractory than others. In addition to this, it fur- 


ni-hrd a new argument in favor of one of our former oWrva- 
tiona, that the fluid in in the persons and not in the tables. 
In fact the movement of the large table took place almost 
immi'diatrlv, ami before it <t>uld be considered as charged 
with fluid. 

The next task before us waft to make it give raps with Its 
different legs. We began with those fastened to one half of 
the top, three in numlier. They roue from the floor two at a 
time with such force that at the end of a moment one oi 
caster* flew to pieces.* Now it is diHimlt to form an idea 
<f the intrn-irv \\hirh a fraudulent action of the fingers i 
have acquired in order to exercise a leverage upon so heavy a 
table, and launch it into the air to such a height. 

There remained the leg of the table which was independ- 
ent of the top. We thought it would obey as well a* th 
others. But no! In vain did we pour out the most prodi- 
gal and pressing invitations: it was never willing 
it JUT along with it* right-hand neighbor or with its neighbor 
on the left. Our next thought was that this was dn 
the persons placed near it, and certain members of the chain 
changed seats. In vain ! All combinations failed one :> 

We drew great deductions from this circumstanr- 
nince it was refuted later, when the contumacious leg yield* -d 
I rf.-ot obedience at another meeting, 1 will not take the 
public into our confidence by a display of our reasonings on 
the subject. 1 will only ask that two things be noted; : 
the care we took to verify many times the phenomena b 
affirming them; and, second, that we have here once more a 
fine refutation of the critics who assert that muscular action 
can explain everything. If this were so, why did not muscu- 
lar action lift the free leg as well as those fastened tight to the 
table ? It could have done so just as easily ; and yet for some 
unknown reason, but one evidently foreign to the lawn of 
mechanics, only the attached legs consented to move. 

Seance of November 7 

We were in full muster ; but two or three of the operators 

were slightly indisposed. On the whole, whatever was the 

ThU was the only table with casters that the operators made use of. 


cause, the occasion was scarcely remarkable for anything 
except the almost total absence of fluidic power. For a sin- 
gle moment we had a little of it. A half-hour of action and 
two hours and a half of inertia this was our net result. 

Nothing was more lamentable, and at the same time more 
curious, than to see us about the different tables, passing 
from one to another, enjoining them to do the most elemen- 
tary things, and only obtaining a weak and languid rotation, 
which soon stopped altogether. 

Seance of December 2 

I should have been vexed to have to close my recital with 
so dull and spiritless a record as the preceding one. By 
good fortune the last of our reports gives me the right to leave 
a totally different impression on the reader's mind. 

We were in fine temper. Perhaps the beautiful weather 
helped. It is not the first time I have noticed this. What is 
certain is that the very same persons who, on November 27, 
had only a half-hour of success and had passed the rest of 
the sitting in beseeching in vain for anything better than poor 
abortive rotations or faint raps, to-day governed the table with 
an authority, a quickness, and, if I may so put it, an elasticity 
of bearing that left nothing to be desired. 

The large table with four legs was set in motion. And 
this time, the ease with which the free leg lifted its share 
of the table proved that we were right in not drawing too 
definite conclusions from its former refusal. Every time 
that we tried to lift without contact that part of the table 
the farthest removed from myself I felt the table-leg nearest 
me gradually approach and press against my leg. Struck 
with this occurrence, which took place several times I drew 
the conclusion that the table was gliding forward, not having 
enough force to rise. We were, then, exercising a percepti- 
ble influence on this large table without touching it in any 

In order the better to assure myself of it, I left the chain 
and observed the movement of the feet of the table on the 
floor. It ranged from fractions of an inch to several inches. 
When we then tried to turn up without contact the folding 
leaf of a gaming-table covered with cloth, we obtained 


the same result : the folding leaf would not yield to our in- 
fluence, but the entire table advanced in the direction of the 
prescribed movement. Now, I ought to add that the gliding 
was not at all easy, for the floor of our room was rough and 

It is interesting to note in this connection the moment 
when this gliding movement ordinarily begins. It occurs at 
precisely the same time that the levitution without contact 
takes place when that inunifWtation U in pr>i . When the 
portion of the chain which is pushing on has just advanced 
beyond the side of the table-top, where it begins to turn, and 
when that portion of the chain that is pulling has just 
crossed the middle point in its recession, then the a- 
sional movement or, in default of that, the ijlidimj motion 
manifests itself. Our fluidic power is then at its maxi- 
mum, precisely at the instant when our mechanical po\v. 
at its minimum, when the hands that are pushing have ceased 
to act (supposing the case of fraud) and when the hands that 
pull are powerless to act. 

Let us now revert to our ordinary table. We tried to pro- 
duce rotations and levitations without contact, and had com- 
plete success. 

Such reports as the foregoing are of more value than all 
the dissertations. They show the undeniable reality of the 
levitation not total, but partial, of the table which re- 
mained in an oblique position poised on two legs only. They 
show also rotations and levitations without contact, as well as 
glidings under the influence of a natural force hitherto only 
slightly studied. 

Levitations of a "heavy table, "having on it a man weighing 
191 pounds, or of tubs of sand and stones weighing 165 
pounds, no denial of these occurrences can be admitted. 

The same is true of the movements of the table dancing 
in accordance with the rhythm of certain airs, of its over- 
turnings, of its obedience to the orders given. These facts 
have been observed precisely as mechanical, physical, chem- 
ical, meteorological, astronomical facts have been observed. 


To the above reports I will add here a supplementary ex- 
periment, described in the preface of Count de Gasparin's 

Certain distinguished savants to whom I had communi- 
cated the results we had secured, agreed in assuring rne that 
levitations without contact would have the character of ab- 
solute certain proof if we succeeded in verifying them by 
the following practical device : " Sprinkle flour upon the 
table," they said, " at the instant your hands have just left 
it ; then produce one or more levitations ; finally assure your- 
selves that the layer of flour bears not the slightest sign of 
any touch, and all objectors will be dumb." 

Why, it is precisely this experiment that we have per- 
formed successfully several times. Let me give a few de- 
tails : 

Our first trial had succeeded very badly. We used a 
coarse sieve which we had to move to and fro over the entire 
table. This produced the double inconvenience ; first, of sus- 
pending too long, and so of nullifying the action of the 
operators ; and, secondly, of spreading a layer of flour much 
too thick. The buoyant spring and impulse of the wills of 
the operators was abated, the fluidic action was thwarted, the 
table-top got chilled down, so to speak ; nothing moved. The 
mischief went so far that the table not only refused us levi- 
tations and rotations without contact, but almost all the or- 
dinary ones. 

Then a brilliant idea came to one of us. We possessed one 
of those bellows used in blowing sulphur upon vines attacked 
by the grape-mildew. In place of sulphur we put flour 
into it, and, so prepared, began the test. 

The conditions were most favorable. The weather was 
dry and warm, the table went leaping under our fingers, 
and, indeed, before the order to lift hands had been given, 
the greater part of the band of us had spontaneously ceased 
to touch the table-top. Then the command rings out; the 
whole chain lifts up from the table, and at the same instant 
the bellows covers its entire surface with a light dusting of 
flour. Not a second had been lost; the levitation without 


contact had already taken place. But to leave no doubt, the 
thing was repeated three or four times in succession. 

That done, the table was scrupulously examined ; no finger 
had touched it, or even grated it in the slightest degree. 

The fear of grazing it involuntarily had even been so great 
that the hands had acted tiuidicully from a height much 
greater than in previous sittings. Each one had thought he 
could not raise his hands too high, and the hands removed 
to such a distanee from the top, had not had recourse to any 
of the manoeuvres or passes of which we had at other times 
made use. Keeping its place, above the table to be litt<l, 
the chain had preserved its form intact; it had made hardly a 
perceptible motion in the direction of the movement it was 
producing at a distance from the table. 

I will add, finally that we did not content ourselves with 
A single experience. A careful inspection following each of 
several Irritations, always showed that the dust-like layer 
of flour was absolutely untouched; and no portion of the 
table had escaped its tell-tale coat of white. 

The author of these reports himself estimates as follows 
the results he has recorded: 

The phenomena observed confirm and elucidate each 
other. Large four-legged tables compete with three-le- 
ones. Inert weights, placed on these, come forward as sub- 
stitutes for persons suspected of giving a helping hand to the 
table charged with the task of lifting them. At last th.- 
great discovery arrives in its turn: we begin by continuing 
without contact movements already initiated, and we end by 
producing them; we succeed almost in creating the process, 
to such an extent that these extraordinary facts manifest 
themselves sometimes in an uninterrupted series of fifteen 
or thirty performances. The glidings round out the subject 
by throwing light on one phase of action at a distance: they 
reveal it as powerless (at times) to lift the table, but able to 
draw it along over the floor. 

Such is the rapidly sketched account of our progress. 
Taken just by itself alone, it constitutes a solid proof and I 
recommend a study of it to serious men. It is not thus that 


error proceeds. Illusions originating in accident, or chance, 
do not thus resist a long study, and do not pass unmasked 
through a long series of experiments that justify them more 
and more. 

The reading of numbers in others' minds, and the bal- 
ance of forces, merit special consideration. 

When all the operators but one are ignorant of the number 
to be materialized by raps, the operation (unless it is fluidic) 
ought to proceed either from the person who knows the num- 
ber and fiirnishes at once the movement and the arrest, or 
else it ought to proceed from a relation instinctively estab- 
lished between that person who furnishes the arrest and his 
vis-a-vis who furnishes the movement. Let us examine both 

The first is untenable; for, in the case where some one 
chooses a leg of the table upon which the operator who knows 
the number can exercise no muscular action, the leg thus 
designated none the less rises at his command. 

The second is untenable ; for, in the case where some one 
indicates a zero, the movement which ought to take place 
does not do so. Nay more. If you place at loggerheads two 
persons placed on opposite sides of the table and enjoin each 
to make a different number triumph, the more powerful 
operator secures the execution of the chief number although 
his vis-a-vis is interested not only in not furnishing it to him, 
but in arresting it. 

I know that this matter of the divining of numbers thought 
of is in bad odor. It lacks a certain pedantic and scientific 
form. Yet I have not hesitated to insist on . it ; for there 
are few experiments in which is better manifested the mixed 
character of the phenomenon, physical power developed 
and applied outside of ourselves by the effect of our will. 
Just because it forms the great offense, or stumbling block, I 
am unwilling to be shame-faced about it. I maintain, be- 
sides that this is just as scientific as anything else. True 
science is not tied to the employment of such and such a 
process or such and such an instrument. That which a fluid- 
ometer would show would be no less scientifically demon- 
strated than what is seen with the eyes and estimated by the 


Let us go on, however. We have not yet reached the end 
of our proofs. One of these has always especially struck 
me: I mean the proof derived from failures. 

It is claimed that the movements are produced by the 
action of our muscles, by involuntary pressure. Now here 
are the same operators who yesterday secured from the 
table the fulfilment of their most capricious desires; their 
muscles are as strong, their vivacity is as great, their desire 
to succeed is perhaps keener and yet nothing ! absolutely 
nothing! A whole hour will pass without the least rotation 
beginning; or, if there are rotations, levitations are im- 
possible to procure; what little is done by the table is done 
feebly, dismally, and as if reluctantly. I repeat it again, 
the muscles have not changed; then why this sudden inca- 
pacity? The cause remaining identically the same, whence 
comes it that the effect varies to such a degree ? 

" Ah ! " says an objector, " you are talking of involuntary 
pressure, and say nothing about voluntary pressure, of fraud, 
in short, Don't you see that the cheaters may be present at 
one sitting and not appear at another, that they may act 
one day and not give themselves the trouble on the next ? " 

I will reply very simply, and by facts. 

" The cheaters are absent when we do not succeed ! " 
But it has happened many a time that our personnel lias 
not been changed in any way. The same persons, abso- 
lutely the same, have passed from a state of remarkable 
power to a state of comparative impotence. And that is not 
all. If there exists no operator whose presence has pre- 
served us from failures, no more does any exist whose ab- 
sence has rendered us incapable of success. With and 
without each one of the members of the chain we have suc- 
ceeded in performing all the experiments, all without ex- 

But * the cheaters do not take so much pains every day ! ' 
The pains would be great indeed, and those who infer fraud 
little think what prodigies they are invoking. The accusa- 
tion is an absurdity which verges on silliness, and its silliness 
removes its sting. One does not take offense at things like 
that. But come now, let us suppose for the moment that 
.Valleyres were peopled with disciples of Bosco, that pres- 


tidigitation were generally practised there, and that it had 
been thrust under our very eyes for five months, and under 
the eyes of numerous and very suspicious witnesses without 
a single case of perfidy having been pointed out. We have 
so well concealed our game that we have invented a secret 
telegraphic code for the experiment of reading numbers, a 
particular turn of the finger for moving the most enormous 
masses, a method of gradually lifting tables that we do not 
seem to touch. We are all liars, all; for we have been mu- 
tually watching each other for a long time now, and do not 
denounce anybody. Nay, more, the contagion of our vices 
is so swift to take that, as soon as we admit a stranger, a 
hostile witness, into the chain, he becomes our accomplice; 
he voluntarily closes his eyes to the transmission of signals, 
to muscular efforts, to the repeated and prolonged suspicious 
actions of his next neighbors in the chain ! Well and good ; 
suppose we grant all that, we shall not have got farther along 
for that. It will still remain to be explained why our cheat- 
ers sometimes do nothing at the very moment when it would 
be to their interest to succeed. It has happened, indeed, that 
a certain sitting at which we had many witnesses and a 
great desire to convince turned out to be a mediocre one. 
Such and such another, under the same conditions, was, on 
the contrary, a brilliant success. 

There you have real and important inequalities, and they 
dare to talk to us of muscular action and of fraud. 

Fraud and muscular action! Here for instance is a fine 
opportunity to put them to the proof. We have just placed 
a weight on the table. This weight is inert and cannot 
be accessory to any device. Fraud is all around it perhaps, 
but it is not in the tubs of sand. This weight is equally 
divided among the three legs of the table, and they are 
going to prove it by each one rising in turn. The total 
load weighs 165 pounds, and we scarcely dare to increase it, 
for, as it is, it was enough, one day, to break our very 
solid table. Very well; now let someone try to move this 
weight. Since muscular action and fraud must explain 
everything, it will be easy for them to put the mass in 
motion. Now they cannot do it. Their fingers contract 
and the knuckles whiten without their obtaining a single 


levitation, whereas, some moments later, levitations will 
take place at the touch of the same fingers, which gently 
graze the table's top and make no effort at all, as any one 
may easily convince himself. 

Certain very ingenious scientific rules of measurement, for 
the invention of \\hich 1 cannot claim the credit, put us in 
the way of translating into figures the effort \\hich thr rota- 
tion or levitation of the table demands, when loaded in th-- 
way just described. With the above-mentioned weight of 
165 powuls rotation is secured by means of a lateral trac- 
tion of about 17Vi pounds, while levitation is only obtained 
by a perpendicular pressure of 132 pounds at least (which 
I will reduce, however, to 110, in deference to the presumed 
wishes of the critic, and on the supposition that the pressure 
might not be absolutely vertical). Several deductions are 
to be drawn from these figures. 

In the first place, muscular action may cause the table 
to turn, but it cannot lift it. As a matter of fact, the ten 
operators have one hundred fingers applied to its surface. 
Now, the vertical, or quasi-vertical, pressure of each finger 
cannot exceed twelve ounces on the average, the chain being 
composed as it is. They only develop, then, a total pressure 
of 66 pounds, which is quite insufficient to produce levita- 

In the next place, this striking thing befalls, that the phe- 
nomenon which muscular action could easily produce is pre- 
cisely the one that we most rarely and with the greatest 
difficulty obtain, and that the phenomenon which muscular 
action could not compass is the one the most habitually real- 
ized when the chain is formed. Why does not our invol- 
untary impulse always make the table turn? Why should 
not our " fraud " always procure such a triumph ? Why, 
as a general thing, do we only succeed in effecting that 
which is mechanically impossible? 

I advise people who like to make fun of table-turnings 
not to investigate them too closely, and to beware of giving 
too careful attention to our supreme demonstration, that 
of movements without contact, for it will leave them not the 
slightest pretext for incredulity. 

Thus the fact is established. Multiplied experiments, 


diverse and irrefutable proofs, which are, moreover, joined 
in the closest solidarity, give to the fluidic action the stamp 
of complete certainty. Those who have had the patience 
to follow me thus far will have felt their suspicions vanish- 
ing one after another, and their faith in the new phenomenon 
more and more strengthened. They will have made good 
what we ourselves have substantiated and made good; for 
no one has opposed more difficulties to table-turning than 
have we, no one has shown himself more inquisitorial and 
exacting respecting them. 

It is not our fault if the results have been conclusive (and 
more and more so), nor ours the blame if they have recip- 
rocally confirmed each other, if they have ended by forming 
one body and taking on the character of perfect evidence. 
To study, to compare, to repeat and repeat again, and to 
* finally exclude all that admits of doubt or question this 
was our duty. Nor have we failed to perform it. I make 
no affirmations in these reports which I have not proved 
over and over again. 

Such are the memorable experiments of the Count de Gas- 
parin. Their worth will be appreciated by all who read 
them. I have been anxious to reproduce these careful re- 
ports; for they establish of themselves the absolute and un- 
deniable reality of these movements that contradict the nor- 
mal law of gravitation. Let us hear the Count's explanatory 

The reader will have noticed the care I have taken to 
confine myself to the Verification of the facts, without 
hazarding any explanatory hypothesis. If I have employed 
the word " fluid," it was to avoid circumlocutions. Strict 
scientific precision would have demanded that I always 
write " the fluid, the force, or physical agent whatever it may 
be." I shall be pardoned for having been a little less exact 
than this in my language. It was enough that my thought 
was perfectly clear. That we have to do with a fluid, prop- 
erly so called, in the phenomena of table turning and lift- 
ing I cannot absolutely affirm. I affirm that there is an 


agent, and that this agent is not supernatural, that it is 
physical, imparting to physical objects the movements which 
our will determines. 

Our will, 1 have said. And this is in fact the funda- 
mental idea we have gathered out of this subject of a physi- 
cal agent It is this which characterizes it, and it is this also 
which compromises it in the eyes of a good many folks. They 
might, perhaps, be resigned to a new agent, if it urn> tho 
necessary and exclusive product of the hands forming thu 
chain, if only it were true that certain positions or certain 
acts insured its manifestation. But this is not the case 
with it: the mental and the physical must combine in order 
to give it birth. Here are hands that tire themselves out 
in forming the chain, and yet obtain no movement: the will 
has not been mingled in the act. Here is a will that com- 
mands in vain: the hands have not been placed in a suit- 
able position. 

We have. thrown light upon both these sides of the phe- 
nomenon, for they are both essential. 

Another fact has been noted by us, and ought to enter 
into a description of the physical agent in question: this 
agent inheres in the persons and not in the table. Lot the 
operators, when they are in rapport, pass to a new table and 
encircle it : they will be able immediately to exercise all their 
authority over it; their will will continue to dispose of the 
physical agent and to make use of it for rapping numbers 
mentally selected by persons present or for producing move- 
ments without contact. 

Such are the facts. The explanation of them will come 
later. It is, however, very natural to want to find this at 
once, and to make hypotheses which may be regarded 
as possible, if not true. I have taken the risk of 
doing this, and I do not repent of it. Was it not im- 
perative to prove to our opponents that they have not even 
the pretext of " a scientific impossibility " ? Hypotheses 
have their legitimate place and their utility, even if they 
are incorrect. If they are admissible in themselves, that 
is sufficient, for that defends the facts to which they are 
applied from the accusation of monstrosity. The critic has 
no longer the right to demand the previous question. 


Seeing that it was asked for on all sides, I have risked 
the following statement: 

You assert that our pretensions are false, for the simple 
reason that they cannot be true ! Very well. But, at all 
events, allow me to lay before you certain postulates. Sup- 
pose, in the first place, that you do not know everything, 
that the moral and even the material nature of man have 
obscurities which you have not been able to remove. Sup- 
pose that the smallest blade of grass springing up in the 
field, that the smallest grain reproducing its kind, that the 
finger of your hand in the act of executing the order you 
give it, enclose mysteries that surpass the powers of the 
learned doctors to fathom, and which they would declare 
absurd if they were not compelled to recognize them as real. 
Then, in the second place, suppose that certain men who will 
so to do, and whose hands are joined one to another in a 
certain way, give birth to a fluid or to a special kind of 
force. I do not ask you to admit that such force exists; 
you will only agree with me that it is possible. There is 
no natural law opposed to it that I know of. 

Now, let us take one more step. The will disposes of 
this fluid. It gives an impulse to external objects only 
when we will it, and in quarters selected by us. Would 
there be anything impossible in this? Is it an unheard- 
of thing that we transmit movement to matter that is out- 
side of ourselves ? Why, we do so every day, and every 
instant; our mechanical action is nothing more or less than 
this. The horrible thing in your eyes doubtless is that we 
do not act mechanically ! But there is something besides 
mechanical action in this world. There are physical causes 
of movement that are something else than this. The caloric 
that penetrates a living body produces dilatation there; that 
is to say, universal movement. The loadstone placed in 
the neighborhood of a piece of iron attracts it, and makes 
it leap across the intervening space. 

" Yes," some one will exclaim, " we should make no ob- 
jection, provided your pretended fluid did not obey one spe- 
cial direction in its progress. If it went straight on, as 
a blind force, well and good ! It would then be like the 
caloric, that dilates everything it meets in its passage. It 


would be like the magnet which attracts indiscriminately 
toward a fixed point all the particles of iron in its vicinity. 
As for you, your invention of the theory of a rotative fluid 
calls vividly to mind the explanation of the dormitivc prop- 
erties of opium." 

It is impossible to more completely misunderstand things. 
No one dreams of a " rotative fluid." All wo maintain is, 
that, when the fluid is emitted and imparts either repul- 
sion or lateral attraction to a piece of furnitun noting on 
legs, a very simple mechanical law transforms the lateral 
action into rotation. 

I do not say, " The tables turn because my fluid is ro- 
tative." I say, " The tables turn, because, when they re- 
ceive an impelling force or undergo an attraction, they can- 
not help turning." Stated in this way, it is a little less nai've. 
Consequently, I should be under no obligation to undertake 
the cause of the poor university scholar of the Miilmlr 
Imaginaire, and defend his famous reply : " Opium facit 
dormire quia e*t in eo virtus dormitiva " (" opium puts 
people to sleep because it has the sleep-producing virtue 
or property "). Nevertheless, I can't help it, out it must 
come: I find the reply an excellent one. I doubt whether 
the savants have found a better one to this day, and I ad- 
vise them to resign themselves sometimes to the following 
kind of reasoning : " Opium puts us to sleep because it 
puts us to sleep; things are because they are." In other 
words, I see the facts and do not know the causes. I do not 
know. " I do not know ! " terrible words, which one finds 
difficulty in pronouncing I Now, I suspect very strongly that 
the sly roguishness of Moliere is for the benefit of the doc- 
tors, who pretend to know everything, invent explanations 
which do not explain, and do not know how to accept the 
facts while waiting for more light. 

But there is more to come. The hypothesis of the fluid 
(a pure hypothesis, remember) must still prove that it is a 
hypothesis reconcilable with the different circumstances of 
the phenomenon. The table does not merely turn: it lifts 
its legs up, it raps numbers mentally indicated to it ; in a 
word, it obeys the will, and obeys it so well that the removal 
of contact does not terminate its obedience. The impelling 


force or lateral attraction which account for rotations cannot 
account for levitations. 

But why? Because the will directs the fluid now into 
one leg of the table, now into another. Because the table 
identifies itself with us, after a fashion, becomes a limb of 
our own body, and produces movements thought of by us in 
the same manner as our arm produces them. Because we 
have no conscious knowledge of the direction imparted to 
the fluid, and govern the movements of the table without 
imagining that any kind of fluid or force whatever is in 

In all our acts, in all without exception, we have no con- 
sciousness of the direction imparted by our will. When 
you explain to me how I lift my hand, I will explain to you 
how I make the table-leg rise from the floor. I " willed to 
raise my hand." Yes, and I also willed to lift this table- 
leg. As for the executing of the mandates of the will, the 
putting into play of the muscles required to lift the hand, 
or of the fluid-power required to lift the table-leg, I have 
no knowledge of what passes in me apropos of this. 
Strange mystery, and one which ought to inspire in us a 
little modesty! There is in me an executive power, a 
power of such a nature that, when I have willed such or 
such an act, it addresses detailed orders to the different 
muscles and sets in motion a hundred complicated move- 
ments to bring about a final result which has been merely 
thought of, merely willed. That miracle goes on within me, 
and I understand it not at all, and never shall understand 
it. Do you not agree that the same executive power can 
give to the fluid the directions it gives to the muscles? I 
have willed to play a sonata on the piano, and, unknown to 
me, something within me has given orders to hundreds of 
thousands of muscular acts. I have willed that the leg of 
this table should be lifted up, and, unknown to me, some- 
thing within me has directed the attractions and impulsions 
of the fluid to the designated place. 

The hypothesis of a fluid is, then, defensible. It accords 
with the nature of things and with the nature of man. I 
have no wish to go farther and furnish at once a definitive 
explanation. But I am not worrying. Let the facts once 


be admitted, and explanations will not be wanting. What 
seems impossible now will seem very simple then. About 
incontestable things no trouble is made. We are so con- 
stituted that, after we have asserted the impossibility of 
everything we do not comprehend, we declare comprehensi- 
ble all that we have recognized as real. People are every- 
where to be met with who shrug their shoulders when you 
speak to them of table-turnings and who make nothing of 
the Puck-like performance of the electric current in putting 
tin- girdle of its circuit around the earth in the fraction of 
a moment, and who find tho miracle of the transmission of 
the mental and moral qualities of the fathers to the children 
a very simple thing to understand! The tables of the 
psychic experimenter cannot escape the common lot. Their 
phenomena, absurd to-day, are to-morrow self-evident. 

These experiments of Count de Qasparin and his associ- 
ates have been known for over half a century, and it is really 
incomprehensible that even the fact of the levitation of tables 
and of tlieir movements has continued to be denied. Verily, 
if the tables are sometimes light, it must be confessed that 
tho human race is a little heavy. 

As to the theory, the hypothesis of the fluid, felix qui 
pot it it rerum cognoscere causas (Happy the man who can 
know the cause of things) I shall return to this mat- 
tor in the chapter on explanatory theories. But it is incon- 
testable that, in such experiences, we act by means of an 
invisible force emanating from us. One must be blind not 
to admit that 

After a series of experiments so admirably conducted we 
can understand that the author might well be allowed to 

dulge in a little derision of obstinately prejudiced unbe- 
lievers. In closing this chapter, I cannot forego the pleas- 
ure of citing Count de Gasparin apropos of the learned 
negations of Babinet and his emulators of the Institute. 

The savants are not the only ones to stand on their dig- 


nity. I also stand on mine, and I make bold to think that 
a certificate signed with my name would not be rated by 
anybody as a piece of imposture or frivolity. It is known 
that I am in the habit of weighing my words; it is known 
that I love the truth, and that I will not sacrifice it on any 
consideration; it is known that I prefer to admit an error 
rather than persist in it; and when, after a long-continued 
inquiry, I persist with a firmer and profounder conviction 
than ever, the import or scope of the declaration I make is 
not to be misapprehended. 

I can tell you, in the next place, that the testimony of 
the eyes has, in my opinion, a scientific value. Inde- 
pendently of instruments and figures, on which I set the 
highest values, I believe that the true seeing of things 
may serve. I believe that this also is of itself an instru- 
ment. If a sufficient number of good pairs of eyes have as- 
certained and proved, ten, twenty, a hundred times, that a 
table is put in motion without contact; if, furthermore, the 
explanation of the fact by fraudulent or involuntary con- 
tacts passes the limits which must be assigned to incredulity, 
the conclusion is clear. Nobody is warranted in crying out : 
" You have neither fluidometer nor alembic ; you do not give 
a specimen of your physical agent in a bottle; you do not 
describe how it acts upon a column of mercury or upon the 
dip of a needle. We don't believe you, for you have done 
nothing but see." 

" I do not believe you because you have done nothing 
but see ! " " I do not believe you because I have not seen 
with my own eyes ! " So many pedants, so many objec- 
tions. They hardly take the trouble to agree among them- 
selves; in a war waged against the tables any weapon is 
fair, nothing comes amiss. 

I do not wish to forget that scientists were still talking 
only of rotations at the moment when Faraday invented his 
disks.* In the presence of a phenomenon so inadequate, 
and, let us admit it, so suspicious, we can understand how 

* The allusion is to Faraday'a explanation of Arago's discovery in 
the magnetism of rotation. Faraday showed that a rotating disk of 
non-magnetic metal would draw after it in similar rotation a magnetic 
needle suspended over it, and even a heavy magnet. See Professor 
TyndaU's Faraday as a Discoverer, pp. 25, 26. Trans. 


the savants showed themselves sceptical and contented them- 
selves with flimsy refutations. They proportioned the num- 
ber and size of their weapons to the appearance of the 
enemy. The one among them who showed the most jx -ni- 
tration, and who proposed the most plausible explanation, 
is most assuredly Chevreul. Hi- theory of the tendency 
to movement is incontestably true. It explains how the 
objects we suspend from our finger finally take a vibratory 
movement in the direction indicated by our will. I am not 
astonished that some have thought this theory sufficient to 
explain how experimenters can, in the end, impart a rota 
tion to the table and participate in the movement them- 
-!\.--. 1 1...-.1 BOl Mj thai <ur ]>r..\rc| Imitations of 
weights, and our movements without contact, will not hence- 
forth permit anyone to take refuge in such an explanation. 
If all the tendencies to movement were united into one 
they would not be able to produce at a distance an impelling 
power, nor move a mass that mechanical action could not 
set in motion. 

Really, the learned doctors ought not to throw out to the 
public these explanations which do not explain. They 
ought rather to get to work and show us, in fuet, how to 
set about the lifting directly and mechanically of a weight 
of 220 pounds without applying to the task a force of 220 

But they prefer to use insulting expressions, and tin M 
proceed to invent some theory or other which has only one 
little fault that it has no legs to walk with. The recent 
article of M. Babinet in the Revue des Deux Mondes is a 
masterpiece in its way. If I needed to be convinced of 
the reality of the phenomena of table-turning, etc., I should 
most assuredly have been convinced by the reading of this 
refutation of it 

In the opinion of M. Babinet, the phenomena of the tables 
offer no difficulty whatever! Happy science of physics, 
happy science of mechanics which has an answer ready for 
everything 1 We poor, ignorant fellows thought we had 
detected something extraordinary, and did not know we were 
merely obeying two extremely elementary laws, the law 
of unconscious movements, and, above all, that of nascent 


movements, movements the power of which seems to sur- 
pass that of developed movements. 

As far as regards unconscious movements, M. Babinet 
adds nothing to previous explanations nothing but the 
story of that lord (an English lord, he says) whose horse 
was so admirably trained that it seemed as if it were only 
necessary for one to think the movement one wished to have 
him execute, and he instantly realized it. I am thoroughly 
convinced, as is M. Babinet, that the aforesaid lord gave 
an impulse to the bridle without suspecting it, and I am 
just as thoroughly convinced that the experimenters whose 
hands are touching a table may exert a pressure of which 
they are not conscious. Only I think there should be 
some proportion between the cause and the effect. Suppose 
the movements are unconscious: they are none the less 
vigorous for all that. The burden is upon M. Babinet 
and his followers, to prove that the very same fingers that 
in vain clench themselves till they are stiff in the endeavor 
to lift a weight of eighty-eight pounds, will lift double this 
weight by simply being unconscious that they are making 
any effort. 

My honorable and learned opponent will not hear of 
movements obtained without contact. " Everything that 
has been said about action exercised at a distance ought 
to be banished to the realm of fiction." The judgment is 
curt and summary. Movements without contact are a fic- 
tion, first because they are impossible; secondly because 
powdered soapstone has hindered the rotation of a table; 
and, finally, because perpetual movement is impossible. 

Movements at a distance are impossible! To be strictly 
logical, M. Babinet ought to have stopped there, remem- 
bering the reply made by Henry IV to the magistrates who 
had thus begun an address to him: 

" We did not give a salute of cannon on the approach 
of Your Majesty, and that for three good reasons. In the 
first place, because we had no cannon " 

" That reason is sufficient," said the king. 

We are fain to believe that M. Babinet himself has lit- 
tle doubt about his " impossibility." He has acted wisely 
in doing so; for this impossibility is based entirely on a 


vicious circle of reasoning. " Is there a single known ex- 
ample of movement produced without a force acting 
the outside? No. Well, movement at a distance would 
very plainly take place by an active external force. There- 
fore movement at a distance is impossible." I feel very 
much disposed to say to M. Babinet, in the technical lan- 
guage of the schools, that his major premise is true and 
that his conclusion would be legitimate if his minor were 
not purely and simply a begging of the question. You 
claim that there is no active force exterior t<> the table 
which lifts it without the touch of the hands. Hut that is 
precisely the point at issue between us. A fluid is an ex- 
ternal active force. It is handy for my critic, indeed, to 
begin by establishing this axiom. Now (he says), there is 
no fluid, or analogous physical agent, in the case of the 
tables ; therefore there is no effect produced. 

The learned gentlemen, Faraday, Babinet, and others, do 
not limit themselves to objections derive. 1 from nascent or 
unconscioufl movements, small causes producing great effects. 
They have still another method of proceeding. If an 
periment has succeeded it has no longer any value. Oh, 
if one cnuld succeed in performing such another experiin 
well and good! But this would not hinder the new ex] 
mem from becoming insignificant in its turn and giving 
place to a new desideratum. The phrasing runs somewhat 
in this way: 

" You are doing such and such a thing. Very well ; but 
now let us see you do a different thing. You are employ- 
ing such or such a method ; be pleased to be contented with 
those which we prescribe you. To succeed in your way is 
not enough; you must succeed in ours. Your way is not 
scientific; it runs contrary to the traditions. We shut the 
door in the face of facts if they do not come in the regula- 
tion claw-hammer coat of full dress. We shall pay no 
attention to your experiments if our experimental apparatus 
does not figure in thorn." 

Strange way of verifying and establishing the results of 
experiments! Von begin by changing the conditions tin- 
der which they are produced. You might as well say to the 
man who has seen the harvesting of barley in Upper Egypt 


in January, " I will believe it when I see it done before my 
eyes in Bourgogne." One can understand, of course, how an 
unreasonable and troublesome fastidiousness might be shown 
regarding travellers' tales. But scientific experiments are 
of another character. In the presence of facts so evident, 
it is almost incredible that they wish to impose upon us 
instruments, needles, and mechanical devices. The idea 
of introducing becauses and therefores into an investiga- 
tion in which the real nature of the acting force is a mys- 
tery to all the world! 

Polemical essays are not scientific studies. In general, 
they are the direct opposite. When persons who have seen 
nothing, who have not devoted any considerable portion of 
their energy and time to experimentation, who have per- 
haps been present only at some ridiculous rotations of 
centre-tables, take their pen in hand for the purpose of ex- 
posing theories or giving lofty reprimands to experimenters, 
I do not look at them in the light of scientific students. 

I am convinced that a man never really studies that which 
he declares a priori to have no sense in it. If attacks are 
studies, there is no lack of them, and (I may add) never 
will be. At the time when the Academy of Medicine buried 
the report of M. Husson and published what everybody in 
Europe persisted in calling a refusal to examine, there was 
issued every morning a paper against magnetism; every 
morning some new writer vociferated that the partisans of 
magnetism were imbeciles, and proposed an explanatory 
system of his own. If you call that making a study, then 
I grant that they have studied table-turnings, for there 
certainly has been no dearth of insults and of theories about 
these phenomena. They have received every attention, ex- 
cept that no one was willing to inspect, experiment, listen, 
and read. 

Twice, a month apart, the Institute has announced (with- 
out protest from anybody whatever) to the students of table- 
turnings that it was shelving papers relating to that topic; 
that it was not obliged to occupy itself with nonsense ; that 
there was a place in its archives for lucubrations of that 
kind ; namely, the place to which were consigned papers on 
> perpetual motion. 


Oh, Moliere! why are you not present with us< But, 
reality, you are here. Your genius has linmcd with 
ineffaceable line* that cv< rlu-ting disease of venerable big* 
wigs and mouldy specialist*, disdain of the laity, respect 
for their fellow-members, idolatry of the past A most sin- 
gular deformity, this! And it apjx-ars in all ages, in vari- 
ous disguises, in the midst of all branches of human u 
ity, now in the name of religion, now in that of m- !. 
and again in the name of aciance or of art. Yes, even sur- 
viving the wreck of revolutions which spare nothing, ap- 
|x>aring even within the walls of learned academies the 
members of which write for the furtherance of the great 
movements of modern progress, one thing remains, the 
spirit of partisanship, of cliques, the spirit of tradition, the 
superstitious regard for form*. 

Really, it would seem as if people must be still taking 
Bible oaths like those in the baccalaureate ceremony at the 
end of Moliere's Maladt Imaginatre. M. Foucault is t 
of this scene, and will therefore not take it ill if 1 recall to 
bis mind a couple of stanzas: 

in omnibus 

Consul tai ion thus 
Ancieni aviso, 

Aui bano, 
Aut m aura MO. 


DC non jamais it terrire 

De remedii* a /run in 

Quam df ceux soulemcnt docia facultatii, 
Maladus dut-il crtvart, 
Ei mori df suo malo. 


The long HC*M from which thin U taken in Moli^rc in so full of 
Italian. Old French, and dog Latin, that it has not bwn translated by 
Van Laun. All but the lat word (;ro) of each utanza ia spoken by 
tb* big-wig* in thU mock examination of a baccalaureate medical rtu- 
deot; that word is bis: 

" Do you swear that in all consultation* you will be of the ancient 
opinion, whether it be good or bad ? " " I swear it."" To never msksj 


If you don't call that a refusal to examine, I don't know 
what the words mean in good French. 

With such ingenious candor and with such authority did 
the Count Agenor de Gasparin express himself in the year 
1854. It seems to me that the experiments made known in 
this volume furnish abundant evidence that he is right. 

Yet I have still friends, at the Institute, who smile with 
the utmost scorn when I ask their opinion on the phenomena 
of the levitation of tables, the movement of objects without 
perceptible cause, unexplained noises in haunted houses, 
communication of thought at a distance, premonitory dreams, 
and apparitions of the dying. Although these unexplained 
phenomena have undeniably been proved to be facts of oc- 
currence, those learned friends of mine remain convinced 
that " such things as that are impossible." 

use of any remedies except those of the learned faculty of medicine, 
even should the patient burst and die of his disease ? " " I swear it." 



The insufficient explanation* of Chevreul and of Faraday, 
the ftcientific negations of Babinet, tho conscientious exj 
mcnts of the Count de Caspar in had led several scientists to 
study the question from the purely scientific point of view. 
Among them was a highly-gifted savant whom I visited at 
Geneva, M. Marc Thury, professor of natural history and 
of astronomy in the Academy of that city. We are in- 
debted to him for a remarkable and little known monograph,* 
which it is my duty to condense for this volume. 

When we were in the presence of new phenomena (writes 
Thury) there was only one alternative: 

First, either to reject, in the name of common sense and 
of the results acquired by science, all the pretended phe- 
nomena of tables as so many childish sport* unworthy of 
taking up the time of the true scientist or scholar, since, on 
tho very face of it, their absurdity is evident; in short, to 
let the matter drop by refusing to give it serious attention. 

Or, second, to make a determined examination of it at 
whatever cost, to study the fact in it* details in order 
to lay fully open all the sources of illusion by which the 
public is duped, separate tho true from the false, and throw 
a strong light on all aspects of the phenomenon, physical, 
physiological, and psychological, in order that the matter 
may be so superabundantly clear and evident that no fur 
ther excuse for doubt may remain. 

*"Lm Tablr fonmoafe*,'* cmufcUrtf* an point de tm d la 
de pkytique gtntnk qui i'y rat tactic . Centre, 18&5. 



Superfluous to say, the last method is the one adopted by 
Thury (as it was by Gasparin). He considers it to be the 
only suitable, efficient, and legitimate method. 

Darkness saps the strength of science. Its strongest hold 
lies in bringing everything out into the full light of day. 
Here, then, lies the question: In these curious phenomena 
of the tables, is the explanation so clear that you can lay 
a finger on the causes of illusion and clearly show that 
there is in them no new and unknown element at work? 

I do not think (replies the Genevan professor) that we 
have attained to that degree of evidence. I wish only one 
proof, the explanation of what has already been attempted. 

If, then, it is well established that the common explana- 
tion is not self-evident, in the eyes of all intelligent and 
sensible men, there remains a task to do, a duty owed to 
science, that of throwing full light upon the phenomenon 
in question ; and this task cannot be exchanged for the easier 
one of treating with irony or disdain those who have gone 
astray in the path that Science refused to illuminate. 

The savants are, however, excusable for not going too quick 
(let us admit with Thury). 

What ! a perturbative force lurking, by the hypothesis, in 
the human organism sufficiently powerful to lift tables, and 
which yet had never produced the slightest derangement in 
the thousands of experiments that physicists are daily mak- 
ing in their laboratories! Their balances, responsive to the 
weight of a tenth of a milligram, their pendulums whose os- 
cillations take place with mathematical regularity, had never 
felt the slightest disturbing effect of these forces, whose 
source is there present wherever there is a man and a voli- 
tion ! Now, it is the ardent wish of the physicist that the 
experiment shall always exactly tally the forecasts of theory. 
Must he then admit an unknown disturbing force ? 

And, even without going outside of the limits of the hu- 

man organism, think, if the organism is unable to move tli 
smallest part of itself when the part is deprived >f muscles 
and nerves, or, when a single hair of our head is absolutely 
withdrawn from the influence of the will think, 1 say, how 
much less (and with how much stronger reason) that nerv- 
ous organism of ours would seem to be able to move inert 
bodies residing outside the limits of our own frames! 

But, if there is a profound improbability in the thing, 
still, we cannot say that it is impossible. No one can show 
a priori the impossibility of the phenomena described, as 
they demonstrate the impossibility of perpetual motion or 
the squaring of the circle. Consequently, no one has the 
right to treat as absurd the evidences which tend to confirm 
the experiments. Provided these evidences are furnished by 
judicious and truthful men, then they are worth the trouble 
of examination. If this logical course had been followed 
the only true and equitable one, the work would now have 
bs*n done, and the learned men would have the glory thereof. 

Thury begins by examining the experiments of Count de 
Gasparin at Valleyres. 

The experiments of Valleyres (be writes) tend to estab- 
lish the two following principles: 

1. The will, in s certain condition of the human organ- 
ism, can act, from a distance, upon inert bodies, and by an 
agency different from that of muscular action. 

2. Under the same conditions, thought can be communi- 
cated directly, though unconsciously, from one individual 
to another. 

As long as we were ignorant of any other facts than those 
resulting from a movement effected by contact with the fin- 
gers of the hand, in a wsy in which the mechanical a< 
of the fingers became possible, the results of the experiments 
upon the table wero always of difficult and doubtful inter- 
pretation. These results had to be necessarily based upon 
an estimate of the mechanical force exerted by the hands 


compared with the strength of the resistance to be over- 
come. But the mechanical force of the hands is difficult 
to measure exactly, under the conditions necessary to pro- 
duce the phenomena. 

Yet over and above that plan of work there remained two 
methods of operation to employ. 

a. So to dispose the apparatus employed that the move- 
ment to be produced shall be one that the mechanical action 
of the fingers could not compass. 

b. To set up movements at a distance without any kind 
of contact. 

The following were our first experiments: 

A. Mechanical action rendered impossible. The first ex- 
periment attempted along this line gave wholly negative 
results. We suspended a table by a cord that passed over 
two pulleys fixed in the ceiling and had a counter-weight 
attached to the free end. It was easy, by regulating this 
counterpoise, to balance in the air either the total weight 
of the table or only a fraction, more or less great, thereof. 

As a matter of fact, the table hung almost in equilibrium 
with the weight, one only of its three legs touching the floor. 
The operators placed their hands upon the top surface. 
We acted at first in a circular direction, a disposition of the 
force the efficacy of which had been established by previous 
experiments. We then tried in vain to lift the table by 
detaching it from the floor. No positive result was obtained. 

We had already (during the previous year) had a table 
suspended to a dynamometer, and the efforts of four mes- 
merizers were powerless to relieve the dynamometer of an 
appreciable fraction of the weight of the table. 

But the conditions necessary for the production of the 
phenomena were still unknown to us, and, consequently, 
when the experiments tried led to negative results, we had to 
try others, without pressing too hastily for inferences and 
conclusions. It was thus that we secured the results which 
I am going to describe. 

Experiment with the Swinging Table. We needed a 
piece of apparatus of such a kind that the mechanical action 
of the fingers would be rendered impossible. For this pur- 
pose we had a table made with a top about 33 inches in 


diameter, and a central trifurcated leg underneath. This 
table bore a close resemblance to the one which had served 
our purposes up to that time, and could turn like its prede- 
cessor. Still, the new table was capable of being trans- 
formed in a moment into a mechanism such as I shall now 

The summit of the tripod becomes the fulcrum of a lever 
of the first order which is able to balance freely in a vertical 
plane. This lever, whose two arms are equal to each other 
and to the radius of the table bears at one of its extivmiti.- 
the table-top, held by the edge, and, toward the other 
tremity, a counterpoise which just balances the weight of 
the table, but which can be modified at will. To the under 
side of the table-top is fastened a leg resting on the floor. 

After the necessary preliminary rotations, the tabl< 
harnessed up in its second form. Equilibrium is first se- 
cured, then 3-5 of a pound is taken from the counterpoise. 
The force required to lift the top by its centre is thm 1 
ounces, and previous experiments have proved that the ad- 
herence of the fingers of the operators (the top was polished, 
and not varnished), together with the possible efforts of 
elasticity, form a total lower than that figure. Yet the 
top is lifted by the action of the fingers placed lightly on 
its upper surface, at a certain distance from the edge. 
Then the counterpoise is diminished; the mechanical diffi- 
culty of lifting is augmented, yet still it takes place. The 
weight is again diminished, and more and more, up to the 
limit of the apparatus. The force necessary to lift the 
top is then 8 1-5 pounds, and the counterpoise has been re- 
lieved of 24 pounds; yet the levitation is easily accom- 
plished. The number of the operators is gradually lessened 
from eleven to six. The difficulty goes on increasing, yet 
six operators still suffice; but five are not enough. Six 
operators lift 9 1-3 pounds, an average for each man of 
about IVfc pounds. 

We now possess, in the apparatus just described, a gauge 
or instrument of measurement. 

B. The following movements were produced without con- 

Ttie table on which were made the trials I witnessed has 


a diameter of 32 inches and weighs 31 pounds. An aver- 
age tangential force of 4 2-5 pounds, which may be raised 
to 6 3-5 pounds, according to the greater or less inequalities 
of the floor, applied to the edge of the table, is necessary to 
give to it a movement of rotation. Ten is usually the num- 
ber of persons who operate about this table. 

In order to assure ourselves of the absence of all con- 
tact, we placed our eye on a level with the table in such a 
way as to see light between our fingers and the surface of 
the table, the fingers themselves remaining a little less than 
an inch above the top. Usually, two persons would be ob- 
serving at once. For instance, M. Edmond Boissier was 
observing the legs of the table, while I was watching the 
top. Then we exchanged roles. Sometimes two persons 
took places at the extremities of one and the same diameter, 
the one opposite the other, for the purpose of watching the 
top of the table. Several times we saw it move, although 
we could not detect the slightest touch by the fingers. Ac- 
cording to my calculations, it would require the contact of 
at least 100 fingers, or the light pressure of thirty, acting 
voluntarily and fraudulently, to explain in terms of mechan- 
ics the movements we observed. 

Much more frequently still we obtained balancings with- 
out contact, balancings which sometimes went so far as to 
tip the table entirely over. To explain in terms of me- 
chanical movement the effects we observed, we should have 
to admit the involuntary contact of 84 fingers, or the light 
pressure of 25, or two hands acting with intent to deceive. 
But these suppositions, also, are not at all admissible. 

Nevertheless, we always felt that someone might pre- 
sent the objection that it was difficult to observe these opera- 
tions with precision, and we were constantly urging M. 
Gasparin to convince the doubters and sceptics in the mat- 
ter of the non-contact of the fingers by means of some 
mechanical device. Out of this arose the last experiment 
made at that time, and the most conclusive of all. A light 
film of flour was almost instantaneously spread over the 
table by means of a sulphur bellows such as is used in 
vineyards. The movement of the chain of hands above the 
table set it whirling. Then the film of flour was examined 


ami found to be inviolate from the touch of hands. Several 
repetitions on different days always gave the same results. 

Such are the principal facts which establish the reality 
of the phenomenon. Thury next takes up the more difficult 
investigation of courses, 

The Seal of the Force. It is possible that the force 
which produces the phenomena is a gnnoral telluric force 
which is merely transmitted by the operators or set in a 
by them; or, possibly, the force resides in the operators 

To decide this question, we had a large movable plat* 
form constructed which revolved on a perfectly vortical axis. 
JCear the outer periphery of the platform utood four chairs, 
and there was table at the centre. Four operators, ex- 
perts in nervo-magnetic action, took their places on the 
chairs, and, placing their hands on the table in the centre, 
tried to give it circular movement by non-mechanical p<> 
In fact, the table soon began to move. Then it was stopped 
and fastened to the platform by means of three screws. 
The effort exerted upon this table by the four magnetixcrs 
was such that, at the end of three-quarters of an hour of 
experimentation, the central supporting leg. was broken. 
Yet the movable platform did not turn. The tangential 
force required to mechanically move the empty platform waa 
only a few grams; loaded with the four operators, 250 
grams waa naosasiry, applied about 28 inches from the 
centre. This figure would have been much leas if it had 
been possible to distribute the weight of the operators uni- 

The result of this experiment (of June 4, 1853) showed 
that the force which tends to make the table turn is in 
the individuals and not in the ground. For the force ex- 
erted upon the table tends to draw along the platform with 
it. If, then, the platform remains motionless, it must be 
thst an equal and contrary force is exerted by the operators. 
It i then -fore in them that the base of the seat of the 
force resides. If, on the contrary, this force had emanated, 


wholly or in large part, from the ground, if it had been a 
force directly telluric, the platform would have turned, the 
effort which the table exerted upon it being no longer coun- 
terbalanced by an equal reaction proceeding from the indi- 

Conditions of the Production and Action of the Force. 
I have said that the conditions for the production of the 
force are little known. In the absence of precise laws, I 
shall present what has been verified in a greater or less 
degree in the case of the three following points : 

a. Conditions of action relative to the operators. 

6. Conditions relative to the objects to be moved. 

c. Conditions relative to the mode of action of the oper- 
ators upon the objects to be moved. 

THE WILL. The first and the most indispensable condi- 
tion, according to M. Gasparin, is the will of the operator. 
" Without the will," he says, " we obtain nothing; we might 
sit there in chain twenty-four hours in succession without 
getting the slightest movement." Farther on, the author 
speaks, it is true, of unexpected movements different from 
those which the will prescribes; but it is evident that he is 
referring to a necessary combination of prescribed move- 
ments and external resistances, the effective movements be- 
ing the resultant of those that have been willed and of forces 
of resistance developed in external objects. In short, the 
will is always the prime mover and originator. 

Nothing, it is true, in the experiments at Valleyres gave 
any authority for believing that it could be otherwise than 
this. But it is also certain that this purely negative result, 
or provisional generalization, deduced from a limited num- 
ber of experiments, cannot invalidate the results of ex- 
periments inconsistent with those, in case such should exist. 
In other words, the will may ordinarily be necessary, with- 
out always being so. Similarly, contact is ordinarily neces- 
sary, and always has been so with a large number of opera- 
tors, without, however, giving them the right to conclude 
that contact is the indispensable condition of the phenome- 
non, and that the different results obtained at Valleyres 
were only illusions or error. 

Since we are dealing here with a point of capital im- 


portance, I shall take the liberty of stating with some detail 
circumstances which seem opposed to the thesis maintain.-.! 
by M. Caspar in. These facts, or data, have as guam 
the testimony of a man whom I should like to be ah! 
name, because his scientific culture and his character are 
known of all men. It was in his house and under his eyes 
that the events took place which I am going to relate. 

At the time when everyone was amusing himself with 
making tables tarn and speak, or in directing the motions of 
load-pencils, fixed in movable sockets, over sheets of paper, 
the children of the house amused themselves several times 
with this sport. At first, the response* obtained were Much 
that you could see in them a reflex of the unconscious thought 
of the operators, a " dream of waking performers." Soon, 
however, the character of the replies seemed to change. 
It seemed as if what they revealed could hardly have ema- 
nated from the mind of the young interrogators. Finally, 
there waa such an opposition to the commands given that M. 
N., uncertain as to the- true nature of these manifestations 
in which a will different from the human will seemed to 
appear, forbade their being called forth again. From 
time forth, sockets and table muted undisturbed. 

A week had scarcely rolled by, after the events just nar- 
rated, when a child of the family, he who had f.rn 
succeeded beat in the table experiment*, became the a 
or the instrument, in strange phenomena. The boy was re- 
ceiving a piano-lesson, when a low noise sounded in the 
instrument, and it was shaken and di -placed in such a way 
that pupil and teacher closed it in haste and left the room. 
Ou the next day, M. N., who had been informed of what 
had happened, was present at the lesson, given at the -. 
time, namely, when the dusk was coming on. At the end 
of five or ten minutes he heard a noi*> in the piano difficult 
to define, but which was certainly the kind of sound one 
would expect a musical instrument to produce. There 
was something about it musical and metallic. Soon aft. r, 
the two front legs of the piano (which weighed over six 
hundred and sixty pounds) were lifted up a little from 
the floor. M. X. went to one end of the instrument and 
tried to lift it At one time it had its ordinary weight, 

which was more than the strength of M. N. could manage ; 
at another, it seemed as if it had no longer any weight 
at all, and opposed not the least resistance to his efforts. 
Since the interior noises were becoming more and more vio- 
lent, the lesson was brought to a close, for fear the instru- 
ment might suffer some damage. The lesson was changed 
to the morning and given in another room situated on the 
ground floor. The same phenomena took place, and the 
piano, which was lighter than the one up-stairs, was lifted 
up much more; that is to say, to a height of several inches. 
M. N". and a young man nineteen years old tried leaning 
with all their might on the corners of the piano which were 
rising. Then one of two things happened: either their re- 
sistance was in vain, and the piano continued to rise, or else 
the music-stool on which the child sat moved rapidly back 
as if pushed or jerked. 

If occurrences like that had only taken place once we 
might think that the child or the persons present were 
laboring under some illusion. But they were repeated a 
great number of times, for a fortnight, in the presence of 
different witnesses. Then, one day, a violent manifesta- 
tion took place, and thenceforth no unusual event occurred 
in the house. At first, it was in the morning and in the 
evening that these perturbations manifested themselves; 
then, invariably at any and all hours, they occurred every 
time the child took his seat at the piano, after five or ten 
minutes of playing. The phenomena happened only with 
this boy, although there were others present (musicians) ; 
and it made no difference which of the pianos in the house 
he used. 

I saw these instruments. The smaller, on the ground 
floor, is a rectangular horizontal piano. According to my 
calculations, a force of about 165 pounds applied to the edge 
of the case, beneath the key-board, is necessary to lift this 
piano as it was lifted by the unknown force. The instru- 
ment in the first story of the house is a heavy Erard piano, 
weighing, with the packing-box in which it was sent, 812 
pounds, as stated in the way-bill, which I myself saw. Ac- 
cording to my approximate calculations a pressure of 440 


pounds ift required to lift this piano, under the same condi- 
tions as the first was lifted. 

I do not think that anyone will he tempted to attribute 
to the direct muscular effort of a child eleven years old the 
lifting up a weight of 440 pounds.* A lady who had at- 
tributed the effect produced to the action of the knees passed 
hor own hand between the edge of the piano and the kneea 
of the child, and was thus able to convince herself that Ii>r 
explanation had no foundation in fact. Kven when the 
child got upon his knees upon the piano-stool to play, he 
did not find that the perturbations he dreaded eeaiwd any 
the more. 

These authenticated facts of Professor Thury are at once 
precise and formidable. What! two pianos rise from the 
floor and jump about ! What do the physicists, the chem- 
ists, the learned pedants in office need, then, to arouse tin m 
from their torpor and make them shake their ears and open 
their eyes? What shall be done to remove their noble and 
Pharisaical indolence? 

But, happen what may, no one it occupying himself with 
the fascinating problem as stated, except scattrml in\ 
gators who are freed from the fear of ridicule and 
are aware of the exact value of the human race, in large and 
small, and the worth of its judgments. 

M. Thury next discusses the explanation based on " the 

Did this boy (he says) witt what took place, as the theory 
of M. de Gaparin would require us to admit! Ac< 

Tkf dynamic force necewiary to produce thit uplift, if we admit 
that it waa developed and accumulated during the five or t.-n minute* 
of playing that preceded the phenomenon, would not. on the other hand, 
be beyond the atrength of the child; it would remain even much be- 
neath the limit of his power*. In genera), the force expended, in theae 
phenomena of the table*, if one may judge by the degree of fatigue 
experienced by the operator*, much aurpaaaea what would be req 
to produce the name effect* mechanically. There in. therefore, in tn 
renpect, no reason for admitting the intervention of a force foreign to 
the boy'i own nature. (T*ry.) 


ing to the boy's testimony, which we believe to be wholly 
true, he did not will it; he seemed to be visibly annoyed 
by what occurred; it disturbed his custom of industriously 
practicing his lesson and offended his taste for regularity 
and order, a thing well known to his intimates. My per- 
sonal conviction is that we positively cannot admit, in the 
case of this lad, a conscious will, a settled design, to produce 
these strange occurrences. But it is known that sometimes 
we have a double personality, and one of them converses with 
the other (as in dreams) ; that our nature then uncon- 
sciously desires what it does not will, and that between will 
and desire there is only a difference in degree rather than 
in kind. It would be necessary to have recourse to explana- 
tions of this kind, too subtle, perhaps, in order to 
square these piano-facts with the theory of M. Gasparin ; 
and it would still be necessary to modify and enlarge the 
facts if you admit that even unconscious desire suffices, in 
the absence of the expressed will. There is, then, reason 
for doubt on this essential point. That is the sole deduction 
that I wish to draw from the events I have related. 

This levitation, equivalent to an effort exerted of 440 
pounds, has its scientific value. But how could the will, 
conscious or unconscious, lift a piece of furniture of that 
weight? By an unknown force which we are obliged to 

Preliminary Action. Power is developed by action. 
The rotations prepare for the tippings and the levitations. 
The rotations and the tippings, with contact, seem to de- 
velop the force necessary to produce the rotations and tip- 
pings without contact. In their turn, the rotations and 
the tippings without contact prepare for the production of 
true levitations, such as those of the swinging table; and 
the persons who have this latent force awaked in them are 
better fitted to appeal to it a second time. 

There is, then, a gradual preparation required, at least 
for the majority of operators. Does this preparation con- 
sist in a modification that takes place in the operator, or in 


the inert body on which he acts, or in both! In order t 
resolve thin problem, experimenters who had been practicing 
At one table went over to another, operating on which they 
found their full power unabated. The preparation there- 
fore consists in a modification that takes place in the indi- 
viduals, and not in the inert body.* This modification oc- 
curring in individuals is dissipated rather rapidly, espe- 
cially when the chain of experimenters is broken. 

Inner Development of the, Operators. It is only a: 
A certain period of waiting that the operators, who have not 
so far acted, cause even the easiest movement, that 
of rotation with contact. It is during this time that the 
force, or the conditions determining the manifestation of 
the force, develop themselves. From that time on, the de- 
veloped force has nothing to do but to increase. That which 
takes place, therefore, in this time of waiting, is a very 
important thing to be considered. We already know that it 
is the operators themselves who are modified. But what is 
it that takes place within themf 

It must be that a kind of activity is set up in the organ- 
ism, an activity which ordinarily requires the int. 
of the will This activity, this work, is accompanied by a 
certain fatigue. The action i- n<>t aroused in all operators 
with equal ease and promptness. There are even persona 
(the author estimates their number at one in ten) in whom 
it appears that it cannot be produced at all. 

In the midst of this great diversity of natural aptitudes, 
it ia observed that children " can secure obedience from the 
table just like grown folks.** Nevertheless, children do not 
magnetize. Thus, although several facts seem to show that 
magnetizers (or meoneruers) have frequently a strong 
power over the tables, yet one cannot admit the identity of 
magnetic power and power over the tables; the one is not 
the measure of the other. Only, the magnetic power would 
constitute (or presume) a favorable subjective condition. 

In the first experiment* of Thary, eight persons remained an hour 
and a half standing, and then seated, around a table, without obtaining 
the least resulting awejatat. Two or three days after, on their tee* 
ond trial, the aaroe persona, at the end of ten minute*, made a centre- 
table rerolve. Finally, on the 4th of May, 1853, at the third or fourth 
trial, the heaviest tablea began to move almost immediately. 


A will simple and strong, animation, high spirits, the con- 
centration of the thought upon the work to do, good bodily 
health, perhaps the very physical act of turning around the 
table, and, finally, everything that can contribute to unity 
of will-power among the experimenters, all these things 
help to make efficacious the commands addressed to the 
table with force and authority. 

The tables (says M. de Gasparin) " wish to be handled 
gaily, freely, with animation and confidence; they must be 
humored at the start with amusing and easy exercises." 
The first condition necessary for success with the table is 
good health and the second, confidence. 

Among unfavorable circumstances, on the other hand, 
must be reckoned a state of nervous tension; fatigue; a too 
passionate interest; a mind anxious, preoccupied or dis- 

The tables M. de Gasparin further says, in his meta- 
phorical language " detest folks who quarrel, either as 
their opponents or as their friends." " As soon as I took 
too deep an interest, I ceased to command obedience." " If 
it happened that I desired success too ardently, and showed 
impatience at delay, I no longer had any power of action 
on the table." " If the tables encounter preoccupied minds 
or nervous excitement, they go into a sulking mood." " If 
you are touchy, over-anxious . . . you can't do any- 
thing of any value." " In the midst of distractions, chat- 
terings, pleasantries, the operators infallibly lose all their 
power." Away with salon experiments! 

Must one have faith ? It is not necessary ; but confidence 
in the result predisposes to a larger endowment of power in 
the seance of the occasion. It does not suffice to have faith ; 
there are persons who have faith and good will, yet with 
whom power of action is altogether wanting. 

Muscular force or nervous susceptibility do not seem to 
play any role. 

Meteorological conditions have seemed to exercise some 

E influence, probably by acting upon the physique and the 
spirits of the operators. Thus fine weather, dry and warm 
weather (but not a suffocating heat) act favorably. 

The especially efficacious influence of dry heat upon the 


surface of the table * will perhaps receive a different ex- 

Unconscious Muscular Action, produced during an espe- 
cially Nervous Condition. So long as only movements 
with contact wore known, in which the movement observed 
was one of those which muscular action might produce, ex- 
planations based on the hypothesis of unconscious muscular 
action were certainly sufficient and much more probable 
than all the other explanations which had been up to that 
time proposed. 

From this point of view (entirely physiological) it is set- 
tled that we must distinguish between the effort which a 
muscle exerts and the consciousness we have of this effort. 
It will be remembered that there exist in the human organ- 
ism a great number of muscles that habitually exert con- 
siderable effort without our being in the slightest degree 
aware of it. It has been pointed out that muscles exist 
whose contractions are perceptible by us in a certain state 
of the system and unperceived in another state. It is there- 
fore conceivable that the muscles of our limbs might as 
an exceptional thing, exhibit the same phenomenon. Tin- 
preparation for the movement of the table, the special kiml 
of reaction that takes place at this interval of waiting, jmt 
the nervous system into a particular condition in which 
certain muscular movements may take place in an uncon- 
scious manner. 

But, evidently, this theory is not sufficient to account for 
movements without contact, nor those that take place in 
such a way that muscular action could not produce them. 
It is therefore these two classes of movements which mu<t 
serve as the basis of new experiments and as the founda- 
tion of a new theory. 

How also explain the very peculiar and truly inconceiv- 
able character of the movements of the table ? this start- 
ing to move, so insensible, so gentle, so different from the. 
abruptness characteristic of the impetus given by mechan- 

In the case of difficult tests, when they took place on cold days, 
a warm spread was stretched over the table, and removed at the mo- 
ment of the experiment. The operators themselves, before acting, held 
their hands open for a moment before a stove. 

ical force; these levitations so spontaneous, so energetic, 
which leap up to meet the hands; these dances and imita- 
tions of music which you would in vain attempt to equal 
by means of the combined and voluntary action of the 
operators; these little raps succeeding the loud ones, when 
the command is given, the exquisite delicacy of which noth- 
ing can express. Several times when someone asked a so- 
called spirit his age, one of the legs of the centre-table lifted 
up and rapped 1, 2, 3, etc. Then the movement was ac- 
celerated. Finally, the three legs beat a kind of drum-roll 
so rapid that it was impossible to count, and which the 
most skilful could never succeed in imitating. On another 
occasion, under the contact of hands, the table was turning 
upon three legs, upon two, upon a single one; and, in this 
last position, changed feet, throwing its weight first upon 
one and then upon another with great ease, and with noth- 
ing abrupt or jerky in its motions. Neither the experi- 
menters nor their most eminent opponents would ever be 
able to imitate mechanically this dance of the table, and, 
above all, the whirling pirouettes and changes of feet. 

Electricity. Many have tried to explain the movements 
of tables by electricity. Even supposing that they involve 
the very abundant production of this agent, no known effect 
of electricity would account for the movement of the tables. 
But, in fact, it is easy to show that there is no electricity 
produced; for, when a galvanometer was interposed in the 
chain, no deviation of the needle took place. The elec- 
trometer remains as indifferent to the solicitations of the 
tables as does the mariner's compass. 

Nervo-magnetism. There is certainly some analogy be- 
tween several phenomena of nervo-magnetism and those of 
the tables. Those passes which seem to favor balancing 
without contact; the motion imparted by the chain to this 
man whom they cause to turn about (unless, indeed, there 
is in this some effect of the imagination) ; finally, the power 
that many mesmerizers exert over the tables all this 
seems to indicate a kinship between the two orders of phe- 
nomena. But, since the laws of nervo-magnetism are little 
known, there is no conclusion to be drawn from this, and 
it seems to me preferable, for the present, to study sepa- 


rately the phenomena of tables, which are better adapted 
to the experiments of the physicist, and which, well studied, 
will render more service to nervo-magnetism than it could 
receive in a long time from this obscure branch of physi- 

Thury next touches upon M. de Gasparin's theory of 
fluidic action. Being certain that he accurately understands 
this theory, he gives a resume" of it in the following items: 

1. A fluid is produced by the brain, and flows along the 

2. This fluid can go beyond the limits of the body ; it can 
be emitted. 

3. Under the influence of the will, it can move hither 
and thither. 

4. This fluid acts upon inert bodies; yet it shuns contact 
with certain substances, such as glass. 

5. It lifts the parts toward which it moves, or in which it 

6. It further acts upon inert bodies by attraction or by 
repulsion, with a tendency to either join or separate the 
inert body and the organism. 

7. It can also determine interior movements in matter, 
and give rise to noises. 

8. This fluid is especially produced and developed by 
turning, and by the .will, and by the joining of hands in a 
certain manner. 

9. It is communicated from one person to another by 
vicinage or by contact. Yet certain persons impede its com- 

10. We have no knowledge of special movements of the 
fluid, which are determined by the will. 

11. This fluid is probably identical with the nervous fluid 
and with the nervo-magnetic fluid. 

Application. Rotation is a resultant of the action of the 
fluid and of the resistances of the wood. 

Tipping results from the accumulation of the fluid in the 
leg of the table which is lifted. 


The glass placed in the middle of the table stops the 
movement because it drives away the fluid. 

The glass placed on one side of the table makes the 
opposite side rise because the fluid, fleeing from the glass, 
accumulates there. 

Thury does not attempt the discussion of this theory. But 
we may repeat with Gasparin, " When you shall have ex- 
plained to me how I lift my hand, I will explain to you how 
I cause the leg of the table to rise." 

The whole problem lies in that, the action of mind on 
matter. We must not dream that we can give a final solu- 
tion of it at the present time. To reduce the new facts to 
conformity with the old ones; that is to say, to relate the 
action of mind upon inert bodies outside of us to the action 
of mind upon the matter in our bodies such is the only 
problem which the science of to-day can reasonably propose 
to itself. Thury states it in general terms as follows : 

General Question of the Action of Mind upon Matter. 
We shall seek to formulate the results of experiment up to 
the point where experiment abandons us. From there on 
we shall study all the alternatives offered to our mind, as 
simple possibilities, some of which will give place to hy- 
potheses explanatory of the new phenomena. 

First principle: In the ordinary state of the body, the 
will acts directly only in the sphere of the organism. 
Matter belonging to the external world is modified on con- 
tact with the organism, and the modifications which it un- 
dergoes gradually produce others by contiguity. It is thus 
that we can act upon objects at a distance from us. Our 
action at a distance upon all that surrounds us is mediate 
and not immediate. We believe that this is true of the 
action of all physical forces, such as gravity, heat, elec- 
tricity. Their effect is gradually communicated, and thus 
alone they put distance behind them and come into relation 
with man as a sentient being. 

Second principle: In the organism itself there is a 
series of mediate acts. Thus the will does not act directly 


upon the bones which receive the movement of the muscles; 
nor does the will modify any more directly the muscles, 
since, when deprived of nerves, they are incapable of move- 
ment. Does the will act directly upon the nerves? It is a 
mooted question whether it modifies them directly or indi- 
rectly. Thus the substance upon which the soul immedi- 
ately acts is still undetermined. The substance may be 
solid, may be fluid; it may be a substance still unknown, 
or perhaps a particular state of known substances. In order 
to avoid a circumlocution, let me give it a name. I shall 
call it the psychode (^x 7 ), soul, and &&>, way). 

Third principle: The substance upon which the mind 
immediately acts the psychode is only susceptible of 
very simple modifications under the influence of the mind, 
for, since the movements are to be somewhat varied, an 
extensive and complicated apparatus appears in the organ- 
ism, a whole system of muscles, vessels, nerves, etc., which 
are wanting in the inferior animals (among whom move- 
ments are very simple), and which would have been un- 
necessary had matter been directly susceptible of modifica- 
tions equally varied under the influence of mind. When 
movements are intended to be very simple (as in the case 
of infusoria) the complicated apparatus is wanting and 
the life-spirit acts upon matter that is almost homogeneous. 

The following four hypotheses regarding the psychode 
may be formed: 

a. The psychode is a substance peculiar to the organism, 
and not capable of emerging from it. It acts only 
mediately upon everything outside of the visible organism. 

6. The psychode is a substance peculiar to the organism, 
capable of extending beyond the limits of the visible organ- 
ism under certain special conditions. The modifications it 
receives necessarily act upon other inert bodies. The will 
acts upon the psychode, and thus mediately, upon the bodies 
that the sphere of this substance embraces. 

c. The psychode is a universal substance which is con- 
ditioned in its action on other inert bodies by the structure 
of living organisms, or by a certain state of inorganic bodies 
a state determined by the influence of living organisms 
in certain special conditions. 


d. The psychode is a peculiar state of matter, a state 
habitually produced within the sphere of the organism, but 
which may also be produced beyond its limits under the 
influence of a certain state of the organism, an influence 
comparable to that of magnets in the phenomena of dia- 

Thury proposes the adjective ecteneic (from 
extension) to describe that special state of the organism in 
which the mind can, in some measure, extend the habitual 
limits of its action, and he styles " ecteneic force " that 
which is developed in this state. 

The first hypothesis (he adds) would not be at all 
adapted to explain the phenomena with which we are con- 
cerned. But the three others give rise to three different 
explanations, in which (he assures us) the greater part of 
the phenomena investigated will be comprised. 

Explanations based upon the Intervention of Spirits. 
M. de Gasparin has shown the error of all these explana- 
tions : 

1. By theological considerations. 

2. By the very just remark that we should not resort to 
explanations which introduce spirits into the problem un- 
til other interpretations have been proved to be entirely in- 

3. Finally, by physical considerations. 

Looking at the question here solely from the general 
physical point of view, I do not follow M. de Gasparin (says 
Thury) in his exploitation of theological explanations. As 
to the second, I will only call attention to the suggestion 
that the sufficiency of explanations purely physical should 
strictly apply only to the Valleyres experiments, where, in 
truth, nothing gives evidence of the intervention of wills 
other than the human will. 

The question of the intervention of spirits might be de- 
cided from the tenor or content of the revelations, in any 
case in which this content would be such as evidently could 


not have originated in the human mind. It is not my in- 
tention to discuss this point. The present study takes cog- 
nizance solely of movements of inert bodies, and we have 
only to consider, among the arguments of M. de Gasparin, 
those which are included in this field of view. 

Now, his arguments on this point seem to me to be all 
summed up in these slightly ironical lines : " Strange 
spirits! . . . whose presence or absence could depend 
upon a rotation, depend upon cold or warmth, or health 
or disease, on high spirits or lassitude, on an unskilful 
company of unconscious magicians! I have the headache 
or the grip, therefore the daemonic beings will not be able 
to appear to-day." 

M. de Mirville, who believes in spirits who manifest 
themselves through the agency of the fluid, might reply to 
Gasparin that the conditions of the ostensible manifestation 
of spirits are perhaps the fluidic state itself; that if this 
is so, we might very well, in a seance phenomenon, have a 
fluidic manifestation without the intervention of spirits, but 
not the intervention of spirits without a preliminary fluidic 
manifestation, and that, thus, anyone will invite such mani- 
festation only at his own risk and peril. 

Thury next discusses how the question of spirits ought 
to be considered. 

The task of science (he writes) is to bear witness to the 
tnith. It cannot do so if it borrows a part of its data 
from revelation or from tradition ; to do this would be a 
begging of the question, and the testimony of science would 
become worthless. 

The facts of the natural order are connected with two 
categories of forces, the one that of necessity, the other that 
of freedom. To the first belong the general forces of 
gravitation, heat, light, electricity, and the vegetative force. 
It is possible that we may discover others some day; but at 
present they are the only ones we know. To the second 
category belong solely the mind of animals and that of man. 
These are truly forces, since they are the cause of move- 
ments and of various phenomena in the physical world. 

Experience instructs us that these mental forces manifest 
themselves by the intermediary of special organisms, very 
complex in the case of man and the superior animals, but 
simple in that of the lowest, among which latter class mind 
has no need of muscles and nerves in order to manifest itself 
externally, but seems to act directly upon a homogeneous 
matter, the movements of which it determines (the amoeba 
of Ehrenberg). It is in these elementary organizations that 
the problem of the action of mind on matter is stated, after 
a fashion, in its simplest terms. 

When once we have admitted the existence of the will 
as distinct, at least in principle, from the material body, 
it becomes solely a question of experience to ascertain 
whether other wills than that of man and the animals play 
any role whatever, frequent or occasional, on the stage of 
life. If these wills exist, they will have some means or 
other of manifestation, with which experience alone can 
make us acquainted. As a matter of fact, all that it is 
possible to affirm, a priori, is that, in order to appear, they 
must manifest themselves through some one of the forms of 
the eternal substance we call matter. But, to say that this 
matter must necessarily have an organization of muscles, 
nerves, etc., would be to hold to a very narrow idea, and 
one already belied by observation of the animal kingdom 
in its lower types. As long as we do not know what the 
bond is that unites the mind to the matter in which it mani- 
fests itself, it would be perfectly illogical to lay down, a 
priori, particular conditions which matter must observe in 
this manifestation. These conditions are at present wholly 
undetermined. Thus we are at liberty to seek for signs 
of these manifestations in the cosmic ether or in ponderable 
matter; in the gases, the liquids, or the solids; in unor- 
ganized matter, or particularly in matter already organized, 
such as that of which man and the animals are built up. 
It would be poor logic to affirm that other wills than those 
of men and animals cannot be discovered, on the ground 
that, heretofore, nothing of the kind has been seen ; for 
facts of this kind may have been observed, but not scien- 
tifically elucidated and authenticated. Furthermore these 
wills might appear only at long intervals, or what seem 


long to us; but the vast abysses of nature's epochs are not 
to be spanned by our little memories or measured by the 
momentary duration of our lives. 

Such are the facts and the ideas set forth in this conscien- 
tious monograph of Professor Thury. It is easily seen 
that, in his opinion (1) the phenomena are positive facts; 

(2) that they are produced by an unknown substance, to 
which he gives the name psy diode, a something that, by 
the hypothesis, exists in us and serves as the intermediary 
between the mind and the body, between the will and tho 
organs, and can project itself beyond the limits of the body ; 

(3) that the hypothesis of spirits is not absurd, and that 
there may exist in this world other wills than those of man 
and the animals, wills capable of acting on matter. 

Professor Marc Thury died in 1905, having devoted his 
entire life to the study of the exact sciences. His specialty 
was astronomy. 



A well-known association of scholars and scientists, the 
Dialectical Society of London, founded in 1867 under the 
presidency of Sir John Lubbock, resolved, in the year 1869, 
to include within the sphere of its observations, the physical 
phenomena which it is the object of this volume to study. 
After a series of experiments the society published a report, 
to which it added the attestations, upon the same subject, 
of a certain number of scientists, among whom I had the 
honor of being included.* This report was translated into 
French by Dr. Dusart and published f in the series of psychic 
works so happily planned and directed by Count de Kochas. 
To give a true idea here of the results reached by this so- 
ciety I cannot do better than cite the salient and essential 
portions of this purely scientific memoir. 

Two or three paragraphs from the beginning of the report 
will show how and at what time the society first took up 
psycho-physical studies : 

At a Meeting of the London Dialectical Society, held on 
Wednesday, the 6th of January, 1869, Mr. J. H. Levy in 
the chair, it was resolved : 

" That the Council be requested to appoint a Committee 
in conformity with Bye-law VII., to investigate the 
Phenomena alleged to be Spiritual Manifestations, and to 
report thereon." 

* Report on Spiritualism of the Committee of the London Dialectical 
Society, London: 1871. 

t In one vol. 8vo. Paris : Leymarie, 1900. 



This committee was formed on January 26 following. It 
was composed of twenty-seven members. Among these \ve 
note Alfred Russel Wallace, the learned naturalist and 
member of the Royal Society, of London. Professor Huxley 
and George Henry Lewis were asked to collaborate with the 
committee. They refused. Professor Huxley's letter is too 
characteristic to be omitted: 

Sir, I regret that I am unable to accept the invitation 
of the Council of the Dialectical Society to co-operate with 
a Committee for the investigation of " Spiritualism ; " and 
for two reasons. In the first place, I have no time for such 
an inquiry, which would involve much trouble and (un- 
less it were unlike all inquiries of that kind I have known) 
much annoyance. In the second place, I take no interest in 
the subject. The only case of " Spiritualism " I have had 
the opportunity of examining into for myself, was as gross 
an imposture as ever came under my notice. But suppos- 
ing the phenomena to be genuine they do not interest me. 
If any body would endow me with the faculty of listening 
to the chatter of old women and curates in the nearest 
cathedral town, I should decline the privilege, having better 
things to do. 

And if the folk in the spiritual world do not talk more 
wisely and sensibly than their friends report them to do, 
I put them in the same category. 

The only good that I can see in a demonstration of the 
truth of " Spiritualism " is to furnish an additional argu- 
ment against suicide. Better live a crossing-sweeper than 
die and be made to talk twaddle by a " medium " hired at 
a guinea a seance. 

I am, sir, etc., 
29th January, 1869. T. H. HUXLEY. 

As if opposing a direct negative and rebuke to this radical 
scepticism, based on a single seance of observation ( !) the 
learned electrician, Cromwell Fleetwood Varley, in 1867, 
who did so much to forward and encourage the laying of 


the third (and finally successful) Atlantic cable between 
Europe and America, hastened to identify himself with 
the investigations, and by his aid materially furthered the 
progress of this scientific examination. 

The report, with its various pieces of testimony, was pre- 
sented to the Dialectical Society on the 20th of July, 1870. 
But, in order not to compromise the society, it was decided 
not to publish it officially, under the aegis of the associa- 
tion. Consequently the committee unanimously resolved to 
publish the report on its own responsibility. It reads as 
follows : 

Your Committee have held fifteen meetings, at which 
they received evidence from thirty-three persons, who de- 
scribed phenomena which, they stated, had occurred within 
their own personal experience. 

Your Committee have received written statements relat- 
ing to the phenomena from thirty-one persons. 

Your Committee invited the attendance and requested the 
co-operation and advice of scientific men who had publicly 
expressed opinions, favourable or adverse, to the genuine- 
ness of the phenomena. 

Your Committee also specially invited the attendance of 
persons who had publicly ascribed the phenomena to im- 
posture or delusion. 

As it appeared to your Committee to be of the greatest 
importance that they should investigate the phenomena in 
question by personal experiment and test, they resolved 
themselves into sub-committees as the best means of doing 

Six Sub-committees were accordingly formed. 

These reports, hereto subjoined, substantially corroborate 
each other, and would appear to establish the following 
propositions : 

1. That sounds of a varied character, apparently pro- 
ceeding from articles of furniture, the floor and walls of 
the room (the vibrations accompanying which sounds are 
often distinctly perceptible to the touch) occur, without 


being produced by muscular action or mechanical con- 

2. That movements of heavy bodies take place without 
mechanical contrivance of any kind or adequate exertion of 
muscular force by the persons present, and frequently 
without contact or connection with any person. 

3. That these sounds and movements often occur at the 
times and in the manner aaked for by persons present, 
and, by means of a simple code of signals, answer questions 
and spell out coherent communications. 

4. That the answers and communications thus obtained 
are, for the most part, of a commonplace character; but 
facts are sometimes correctly given which are only known 
to one of the persons present. 

5. That the circumstances under which the phenomena 
occur are variable, the most prominent fact being that the 
presence of certain persons seem necessary to their occur- 
rence, and that of others generally adverse. But this dif- 
ference does not appear to depend upon any belief or dis- 
belief concerning the phenomena. 

6. That, nevertheless, the occurrence of the phenomena is 
not insured by the presence or absence of such persons re- 

The oral and written evidence received by your Com- 
mittee not only testifies to phenomena of the same nature 
as those witnessed by the sub-committees, but to others of 
a more varied and extraordinary character. 

This evidence may be briefly summarized as follows :- 

1. Thirteen witnesses state that they have seen heavy 
bodies in some instances men rise slowly in the air 
and remain there for some time without visible or tangible 

2. Fourteen witnesses testify to having seen hands or 
figures, not appertaining to any human being, but life-like 
in appearance and mobility, which they have, sometimes 
touched or even grasped, and which they are therefore con- 
vinced were not the result of imposture or illusion. 

3. Five witnesses state that they have been touched, by 
pome invisible agency, on various parts of the body, and 


often where requested, when the hands of all present were 

4. Thirteen witnesses declare that they have heard 
musical pieces well played upon instruments not manipu- 
lated by any ascertainable agency. 

5. Five witnesses state that they have seen red-hot coals 
applied to the hands or heads of several persons without 
producing pain or scorching; and three witnesses state that 
they have had the same experiment made upon themselves 
with the like immunity. 

6. Eight witnesses state that they have received precise 
information through rappings, writings, and in other ways, 
the accuracy of which was unknown at the time to them- 
selves or to any persons present, and which, on subsequent 
inquiry, was found to be correct. 

7. One witness declares that he has received a precise 
and detailed statement which, nevertheless, proved to be 
entirely erroneous. 

8. Three witnesses state that they have been present when 
drawings, both in pencil and colors, were produced in so 
short a time, and under such conditions, as to render human 
agency impossible. 

9. Six witnesses declare that they have received informa- 
tion of future events, and that in some cases the hour and 
minute of their occurrence have been accurately foretold, 
days and even weeks before. 

In addition to the above, evidence has been given of 
trance-speaking, of healing, of automatic writing, of the 
introduction of flowers and fruits into closed rooms, of 
voices in the air, of visions in crystals and glasses, and of 
the elongation of the human body. 

Some extracts from the reports will give my readers a 
better idea of these experiments and show their wholly scien- 
tific character: 

All of these meetings were held at the private residences 
of members of the Committee, purposely to preclude the 
possiblity of prearranged mechanism or contrivance. 


The furniture of the room in which the experiments were 
conducted was on every occasion its accustomed furniture. 

The tables were in all cases heavy dining-tables, requir- 
ing a strong effort to move them. The smallest of them 
was 5ft. 9in. long by 4ft. wide, and the largest, 9ft. Sin. 
long and 4 1 /oft. wide, and of proportionate weight. 

The room, tables, and furniture generally were repeatedly 
subjected to careful examination before, during, and after 
the experiments, to ascertain that no concealed machinery, 
instrument or other contrivances existed by means of which 
the sounds or movements hereinafter mentioned could be 

The experiments were conducted in the light of gas, 
except on the few occasions specially noted in the minutes. 

Your Committee have avoided the employment of pro- 
fessional or paid mediums, the mediumship being that of 
members of your Sub-committee, persons of good social 
position and of unimpeachable integrity, having no 
pecuniary object to serve, and nothing to gain by deception. 

Of the members of your Sub-committee about four- 
fifths entered upon the investigation wholly sceptical as 
to the reality of the alleged phenomena, firmly believing 
them to be the result either of imposture or of delusion, or 
of involuntary muscular action. It was only by irresistible 
evidence, under conditions that precluded the possibility 
of either of these solutions, and after trial and test many 
times repeated, that the most sceptical of your Sub-com- 
mittee were slowly and reluctantly convinced that the 
phenomena exhibited in the course of their protracted in- 
quiry were veritable facts. 

A description of one experiment, and the manner of 
conducting it, will best show the care and caution with 
which your Committee have pursued their investigations. 

So long as there was contact, or even the possibility of 
contact, by the hands or feet, or even by the clothes of any 
person in the room, with the substance moved or sounded, 
there could be no perfect assurance that the motions and 
sounds were not produced by the person so in contact. The 
following experiment was therefore tried: 

On an occasion when eleven members of your Sub-corn- 


mittee had been sitting round one of the dining-tables above 
described for forty minutes, and various motions and 
sounds had occurred, they, by way of test, turned the backs 
of their chairs to the table, at about nine inches from it. 
They all then knelt upon their chairs, placing their arms 
upon the backs thereof. In this position, their feet were of 
course turned away from the table, and by no possibility 
could be placed under it or touch the floor. The hands of 
each person were extended over the table at about four 
inches from the surface. Contact, therefore, with any part 
of the table could not take place without detection. 

In less than a minute the table, untouched, moved four 
times; at first about five inches to one side, then about 
twelve inches to the opposite side, and then, in like manner, 
four inches and six inches respectively. 

The hands of all present were next placed on the backs 
of their chairs, and about a foot from the table, which 
again moved, as before, five times, over spaces varying from 
four to six inches. Then all the chairs were removed 
twelve inches from the table, and each person knelt on 
his chair as before, this time however folding his hands 
behind his back, his body being thus about eighteen inches 
from the table, and having the back of the chair between 
himself and the table. The table again moved four times, 
in various directions. In the course of this conclusive ex- 
periment, and in less than half-an-hour, the table thus 
moved, without contact or possibility of contact with any 
person present, thirteen times, the movements being in dif- 
ferent directions, and some of them according to the re- 
quest of various members of your Sub-committee. 

The table was then carefully examined, turned upside 
down and taken to pieces, but nothing was discovered to 
account for the phenomena. The experiment was con- 
ducted throughout in the full light of gas above the table. 

Altogether, your Sub-committee have witnessed upwards 
of fifty similar motions without contact on eight different 
evenings, in the houses of members of your Sub-committee, 
the most careful tests being applied on each occasion. 

In all similar experiments the possibility of mechanical 
or other contrivance was further negatived by the fact that 


the movements were in various directions, now to one side, 
then to the other; now up the room, now down the room 
motions that would have required the co-operation of many 
hands or feet; and these, from the great size and weight 
of the tables, could not have been so used without the 
visible exercise of muscular force. Every hand and foot 
was plainly to be seen and could not have been moved 
without instant detection. 

The motions were witnessed simultaneously by all 
present. They were matters of measurement, and not of 
opinion or fancy. And they occurred so often, under so 
many and such various conditions, with such satV-uar<U 
against error or deception, and with such invariable results, 
as to satisfy the members of your Sub-committee by whom 
the experiments were tried, wholly sceptical as most of 
them were when they entered upon the investigation, that 
there is a force capable of moving heavy bodies without 
material contact , and which force is in some unknown man- 
ner dependent upon the presence of human beings. 

Such was the first verdict of science upon Spiritualistic 
doings in England, a verdict rendered by physicists, chem- 
ists, astronomers and naturalists, several of them members 
of the London Royal Society. The investigations were un- 
der the especial care of Professor Morgan, president of the 
Mathematical Society, of London ; of Varley, chief electrical 
engineer of the department of telegraphs, and Alfred Wal- 
lace, naturalist, etc. Several members of the Dialectical 
Society refused to join in the conclusions of the committee, 
and declared they ought to be verified by another scientist ; 
for example, by the chemist, Crookea. This gentleman ac- 
cepted the proposition, and in this way it was that he began 
his experiments, of which more anon. 

But, before presenting an account of the experiments of 
the eminent chemist, I should like to place before my read- 
ers the chief points settled by the Experimental Committee, 
of which I have just spoken. 



March 9th. Nine members present. Reunion at eight 
o'clock. The following phenomena were produced: 1. 
The members of the circle standing, rested the tips of their 
fingers only on the table. It made a considerable move- 
ment. 2. Holding their hands a few inches above the 
table, and no one in any way touching it, it moved a dis- 
tance of more than a foot. 3. To render the experiment 
absolutely conclusive, all present stood clear away from the 
table, and stretching out their hands over it without touch- 
ing it, it again moved as before, and about the same dis- 
tance. During this time, one of the Committee was placed 
upon the floor to look carefully beneath the table, while 
others were placed outside to see that no person went near 
to the table. In this position it was frequently moved, 
without possibility of contact by any person present. 4. 
Whilst thus standing clear of the table, but with the tips 
of their fingers resting upon it, all at the same moment 
raised their hands at a given signal; and on several oc- 
casions the table jumped from the floor to an elevation 
varying from half an inch to an inch. 5. All held their 
hands close above the table, but not touching it, and then 
on a word of command raised them suddenly, and the table 
jumped as before. The member lying on the floor, and 
those placed outside the circle, were keenly watching as 
before, and all observed the phenomena as described. 

April 15^. Eight members present. Sitting at 8 p. m. 
Within five minutes tapping sounds were heard on the leaf 
of the table. Various questions, as to order of sitting, etc., 
were put, and answered by rappings. The alphabet was 
called for, and the word " laugh " was spelled out. It was 
asked if it was intended that we should laugh. An affirma- 
tive answer being given, the members laughed; upon which 
the table made a most vigorous sound and motion imitative 
of and responsive to the laughter, and so ludicrous as to 
cause a general peal of real laughter, to which the table 
shook, and the rapping kept time as an accompaniment. 
The following questions were then put and answered by 


the number of raps given : How many children has Mrs. 

M ? " " Four ; " " Mrs. W ? " Three ; " " Mrs. 

D ?" No rap; "Mrs. E- -I" "Five;" "Mrs. 

S ? " " Two." It was ascertained, upon inquiry that 

these replies were perfectly correct, except in the case of 

Mrs. E- , who has only four children living, but has 

lost one. Neither the medium nor any person present, was 
aware of all the above numbers, but each number was 
known to some of them. The inquiry for a written com- 
munication being responded to by three raps, some sheets 
of paper with a pencil were laid under the table, and at 
the end of the sitting examined, but no letter or mark was 
found on the paper. In order to test whether these sounds 
would continue under different conditions, all sat some dis- 
tance from the table, holding hands in a circle round it. 
But instead of upon the table as before, loud rappings 
were heard to proceed from various parts of the floor, and 
from the chair on which the medium sat; while some came 
from the other side of the room, a distance of about fifteen 
feet from the nearest person. A desire having been ex- 
p* --, i for a -!...-. . . r of rapt, kmd iMj-i-ini: came from every 
part of the table at once, producing an effect similar to that 
of a shower of hail falling upon it. The sounds throughout 
the evening were very sharp and distinct. It was observed 
that, although during the conversation the rappings are 
times of a singularly lively character, yet when a ques- 
tion is put they cease instantly, and not one is heard until 
the response is given. 

April 29th. Nine members present. Medium and con- 
ditions as before. In about a quarter of an hour the table 
made sundry movements along the floor, with rappings. 
The sounds at first were very softly given, but subsequently 
became much stronger. They beat time to the airs played 
by a musical box, and came from any part of the table re- 
quested by the members. Some questions were put and 
followed by raps, but more frequently by tilting of the 
table at its sides, ends, or corners, the elevation being from 
one to four inches. An endeavour was made by those sit- 
ting near, to prevent the table from rising, but it resisted 


all their efforts. The chair on which the medium was 
seated was drawn several times over the floor. First it 
moved backward several feet; then it gave several twists 
and turns, and finally returned with the medium to nearly 
its original position. The chair had no casters, and moved 
quite noiselessly, the medium appearing perfectly still and 
holding her feet above the carpet; so that during the en: 
tire phenomenon no part of her person or of her dress 
touched the floor. There was bright gaslight, and the mem- 
bers had a clear opportunity to observe all that occurred; 
and all agreed that imposture was impossible. While this 
was going on, a rapping sound came continually from the 
floor beneath and around the chair. It was then suggested 
that trials should be made if the table would move without 
contact. All present, including the medium stood quite 
clear of the table, holding their hands from three to six 
inches above it, and without any way of touching it. Ob- 
servers were placed under it to see that it was not touched 
there. The following were the observations: 

1. The table repeatedly moved along the floor in differ- 
ent directions, often taking that requested. Thus, in ac- 
cordance with a desire expressed that it should move from 
the front to the back room, it took that direction, and, on 
approaching the folding doors and meeting with an obstruc- 
tion, turned as if to avoid it^ 

2. On a given signal all raised their hands suddenly, and 
the table immediately sprang or jerked up from the 
floor about one inch. 

Various members of the Committee volunteered by turns 
to keep watch below the table, whilst others standing round 
them carefully noted everything that took place ; but no one 
could discover any visible agency in their production. 

May ~L8th. Music was played on the piano-forte, and 
one piece was accompanied by tapping sounds from all parts 
of the table, and another piece both by tapping sounds, 
vibrations, and slight vertical movements of the table at 
its sides, ends, and corners. The sounds and movements 
all kept time with the music. The same phenomena also 
occurred when a song was sung. During the seance the 


sounds were very equally distributed, being seldom con- 
fined to one part of the table. 

June 9th. Eight members present The most interest- 
ing fact this evening was, that though the tapping sounds 
proceeded from different parts of the table, but principally 
from that in front of the medium; yet, when she went into 
the hall to receive a message, they still continued to come 
from that part of the table. 

The alphabet being repeated in accordance with the sig- 
nal, " Queer Pals " was spelt out. These words seemed to 
amuse and puzzle the meeting. However, it was suggested 
they might apply to the Christy Minstrels, whose nigger 
melodies, at St. George's Hall, were very clearly heard 
through the open window of the back room. At this sugges- 
tion the table gave three considerable tilts. 

June I llli. The medium held a sheet of note paper at 
arm's length over the table by one of its corners, and, at 
request, faint but distinct taps were heard upon it. The 
other corners of the paper were then held by members of 
the Committee, and the sounds were again heard by all at 
the table; while those who held the paper felt the impact 
of the invisible blows. One or more questions were an- 
swered in this way by three clear and distinctly audible 
taps, which had a sound similar in character to that pro- 
duced by dropping water. This new and curious phenom- 
enon occurred close under the eyes of all present, without 
any physical cause for it being detected. 

June 21st. Movement of harmonican without contact. 
On the medium and two other members holding their hands 
above the harmonican without in any way touching it, it 
moved almost entirely round, by successive jerks, on the 
table on which it was placed. The dining-table was 
strongly moved a distance of six feet, the hands of the 
members present resting lightly on it 

Oct. ISth. A cylinder of canvas, three feet in height, 
and about two feet in diameter, was placed under a small 


table, the legs of which were contained within it. Inside 
the cylinder was a bell, resting on the floor. No sounds 
proceeded from the bell, but there were repeated rappings 
upon and jerkings of the table. This cylinder precluded 
the possibility of contact with the table by a foot of any of 
the persons present, during the entire continuance of the 
knockings and jerkings of the table. 

Dec. l&th. Sounds from table without contact. All sat 
away from the table, without in any manner touching it, 
and the sounds, although somewhat fainter, continued to 
proceed from it. 

Dec. "28th. Movements without contact. Question: 
" Would the table now be moved without contact ? " An- 
swer : " Yes," by three raps on the table. 

All chairs were then turned with their backs to the table, 
and nine inches away from it; and all present knelt on the 
chairs, with their wrists resting on the backs, and their 
hands a few inches above the table. 

Under these conditions, the table (the heavy dining-room 
table previously described) moved four times, each time 
from four to six inches, and the second time nearly twelve 

Then all hands were placed on the backs of the chairs, 
and nearly a foot from the table, when four movements 
occurred, one slow and continuous, for nearly a minute. 
Then all present placed their hands behind their backs, 
kneeling erect on their chairs, which were removed a foot 
clear away from the table ; the gas also was turned up higher, 
so as to give abundance of light, and under these test con- 
ditions, distinct movements occurred, to the extent of sev- 
eral inches each time, and visible to every one present. 

The motions were in various direct-ions, towards all parts 
of the room some were abrupt, others steady. At the 
same time, and under the same conditions, distinct raps 
occurred, apparently both on the floor and on the table, 
in answer to requests for them. The above described move- 
ments were so unmistakable, that all present unhesitatingly 
declared their conviction, that no physical force, exerted 

4.1 t A tf,i+ 


by any one present, could possibly have produced them. 
And they declared, further, in writing, that a rigid ex- 
amination of the table, showed it to be an ordinary din- 
ing-table, with no machinery or apparatus of any kind con- 
nected with it. The table was laid on the floor with its legs 
up, and taken to pieces as far as practicable. 

Special Observations. 

These experiments are only a repetition and absolute con- 
firmation of those that have been described all through tin- 
volume, from its very first pages. Yet they are enough in 
themselves alone to justify one's convictions. 

This first sub-committee, the principal experiments of 
which we have been giving, was studying only physical phe- 
nomena. Sub-committee No. 2 was more especially occupied 
with intelligent communications and mediuraistic dictations. 
They need not detain us here, but will find their place in a 
special work on Spiritualism. 

The same committee published in its general report the 
following letter, which it did me the honor of requesting: 

I must confess to you, in the first place, gentlemen, that, 
of those who call themselves " mediums " and " spiritists," 
A considerable number are persons of limited intelligence, 
incapable of bringing the experimental method to bear on 
the investigation of this order of phenomena, and conse- 
quently are often the dupes of their credulity or ignorance; 
while others, of whom the number is also considerable, are 
impostors whose moral sense has become so blunted by the 
habit of fraud that they seem to be incapable of appreciat- 
ing the heinousness of their criminal abuse of the confi- 
dence of those who apply to them for instruction or for 

And even where the subject is being investigated seriously 
and in good faith, the force to which the production of 
these phenomena is due is so capricious in its action that 
much delay and disappointment is inevitable in the prose- 


cution of any experimental inquiry in regard to them. It 
is, therefore, no easy matter to put aside the obstacles thus 
placed in the way of the serious inquirer, to eliminate 
these sources of error, and to get at genuine manifesta- 
tions of the phenomena in question; carefully guarding 
one's own mind against all error, all self-deception in the 
methodical and scrupulous examination of the order of 
facts now under discussion. Nevertheless, I do not hesi- 
tate to affirm my conviction, based on personal examination 
of the subject, that any scientific man who declares the 
phenomena denominated " magnetic " " somnambulistic," 
" mediumistic," and others not yet explained by science, to 
be " impossible," is one who speaks without knowing what 
he is talking about; and also any man accustomed, by his 
professional avocations, to scientific observation provided 
that his mind be not biased by preconceived opinions, nor 
his mental vision blinded by that opposite kind of illusion, 
unhappily too common in the learned world, which con- 
sists in imagining that the laws of Nature are already 
known to us, and that everything which appears to over- 
step the limit of our present formulas is impossible may 
acquire a radical and absolute certainty of the reality of 
the facts alluded to. 

After an affirmation so categorical, it is hardly necessary 
for me to assure the members of the Dialectical Society that 
I have acquired, through my own observation, the absolute 
certainty of the reality of these phenomena. . . . 

But although thus compelled, in the absence of conclu- 
sive data in regard to the cause of the so-called " Spiritual 
Phenomena," to refrain from making any positive affirma- 
tion in regard to this part of the subject, I may add that 
while the general assertion of its spiritual nature, on the 
part of the occult force which, within the last quarter of 
a century, has thus manifested itself all over the globe, 
constitutes a feature of the case which, from its universality, 
merits the attention of the impartial investigator the 
history of the human race, from the earliest ages, furnishes 
instances of coincidences, previsions and presentiments of 
warnings experienced in certain critical moments, of ap- 
paritions more or less distinctly seen, which are stated, on 


evidence as trustworthy as that which we possess with re- 
gard to any other branch of historical tradition, to have 
occurred, spontaneously, in the experience of all nations, 
and which may therefore be held to strengthen the presump- 
tion of the possibility of communication between incarnate 
and discarnate spirits. 

I may also add that my own investigations in the iirlds 
of philosophy and of modern astronomy have led me, ;i 
well known, to adopt a personal and individual way of re- 
garding the subject of space and time, the plurality of in- 
habited worlds, the eternity and ubiquity of the acting 
forces of the universe, and the indestructibility of souU, 
as well as of atoms. 

The everlastingness of intelligent life ought to be regarded 
as the result of the harmonious succession of sidereal incar- 

Our earth being one of the heavenly bodies, a province 
of planetary existence, and our present life being a phase 
of our eternal duration, it appears only natural (the super- 
natural does not exist) that there should exist a permanent, 
link between the spheres, the bodies, and the souls of the 
universe, and therefore altogether probable that the exist- 
ence of this link will be demonstrated, in course of time, 
by the advance of scientific discovery. 

It would be difficult to over-rate the importance of the 
questions thus brought forward for consideration; and I 
have seen with lively satisfaction the noble initiative which, 
through the formation of your Committee of Inquiry, has 
been taken by a body of men so justly eminent as the mem- 
bers of the Dialectical Society, in the experimental investi- 
gation of these deeply interesting phenomena. I am most 
happy, therefore, to comply with the tenor of your letter, 
by sending you the humble tribute of my observations on 
the subject in question, and thus to have the opportunity of 
offering to your society the expression of my sincerest good 
wishes for the speedy elucidation of the mysteries of naturo 
that have not yet been brought within the domain of positive 
science. I am, sir, yours faithfully, 

10, Rue des Moineaux (Palais Royal). 

Paris, May 8, 1870. 


The foregoing resume of the labors of the Dialectical So- 
ciety of London shows once more that mediumistic phe- 
nomena long ago entered upon the road of scientific experi- 
ment. It would seem as if only the wilfully blind could 
henceforth deny their allegiance. 

The results of the studies described also form an answer 
to the question frequently asked, whether one can undertake 
similar experiments without knowing a true medium. I re- 
ply that, in any meeting of a dozen persons, there will al- 
ways be one or more mediums. This was proved by the 
seances of the Count de Gasparin. 

The English report also contains (May 25, 1869) a 
communication from the electrician, Cromwell Varley, de- 
claring that mediumistic phenomena could not be discredited 
by any observer of good faith, and that, to him, the hypothesis 
of disembodied spirits is the one that best explains them 
just plain, common spirits (as a general thing), like the 
majority of the citizens of our planet. 

The scientific experiments of the Dialectical Society's com- 
mittee were continued by the " Society for Psychical Re- 
search," founded in 1882, the successive presidents of which 
were Professor Sidgwick, Professor Balfour Stewart, Pro- 
fessor Sidgwick for a second time, Professor William 
James, Sir William Crookes, Frederick Myers, Sir Oliver 
Lodge, Professor Eichet all eminent in the departments 
of science and education. Let me mention here the splendid 
work of Dr. Hodgson and of Professor Hyslop in the Ameri- 
can branch of this society. 

The experiments were continued, in a masterly way, by 
the celebrated chemist, Sir William Crookes, and yielded 
him the most wondrous results. My readers will presently 
realize this. 



The learned chemist, Sir William Crookes, member of the 
Royal Society of London, the author of several discoveries 
of the first rank (among which should be placed the dis- 
covery, in 1861, of the metal, thallium), and of ingenious 
experiments on "radiant matter," published his first re- 
searches on the subject we are here considering in a review of 
which he was the editor the Quarterly Journal of Science. 

I bad the honor of contributing certain astronomical pa- 
pen to this journal.* I will first lay before my readers an 
rxtract from Mr. Crookes's article of the 1st of July, 1871, 
entitled "Experimental Investigation of a New Force," in 
which he describes bis studies with Home. I also had occa- 
sion myself more than once to hold conversation with this 
medium. f 

ve months ago in this journal, July 1, 1870, I wrote 
an article, in which, after expressing in the most emphatic 
manner my Ix-Hrf in the occurrence, under certain circum- 
stances, of phenomena inexplicable by any known natural 
laws, I indicated several tests which men of science had a 
rinht to demand before giving credence to the genuineness 
of these phenomena. Among the tests pointed out v. 
that a " delicately poised balance should be moved un<l< r 
test conditions;" and that some exhibition of power equiv- 
alent to so many "foot-pounds" should be "manifested in 

See, for example, the January number, 1876: Sidereal Aitranomy. 
t Rnperially at Nice, in 1881 and 1884. Home died in 1886. He was 
born in 1833, near Edinburgh. 



his laboratory, where the experimentalists could weigh, meas- 
ure, and submit it to proper tests." I said, too, that I could 
not promise to enter fully into this subject, owing to the 
difficulties of obtaining opportunities, and the numerous fail- 
ures attending the enquiry ; moreover, that " the persons in 
whose presence these phenomena take place are few in num- 
ber, and opportunities for experimenting with previously 
arranged apparatus are rarer still." 

Opportunities having since offered for pursuing the in- 
vestigation, I have gladly availed myself of them for apply- 
ing to these phenomena careful scientific testing experi- 
ments, and I have thus arrived at certain definite results 
which I think it right should be published. These experi- 
ments appear conclusively to establish the existence of a new 
force, in some unknown manner connected with the human 
organization, which for convenience may be called the Psy- 
chic Force. 

Of all the persons endowed with a powerful development 
of this psychic force, and who have been termed " mediums " 
upon quite another theory of its origin, Mr. Daniel Dunglas 
Home is the most remarkable, and it is mainly owing to 
the many "opportunities I have had of carrying on my inves- 
tigation in his presence that I am enabled to affirm so con- 
clusively the existence of this force. The experiments I 
have tried have been very numerous, but owing to our im- 
perfect knowledge of the conditions which favor or oppose 
the manifestations of this force, to the apparently capricious 
manner in which it is exerted, and to the fact that Mr. Home 
himself is subject to unaccountable ebbs and flows of the 
force, it has but seldom happened that a result obtained on 
one occasion could be subsequently confirmed and tested 
with apparatus specially contrived for the purpose. 

Among the remarkable phenomena which occur under Mr. 
Home's influence, the most striking, as well as the most 
easily tested with scientific accuracy, are (1) the alteration 
in the weight of bodies, and (2) the playing of tunes upon 
musical instruments (generally an accordion, for convenience 
of portability) without direct human intervention, under 
conditions rendering contact or connection with the keys im- 
possible. Not until I had witnessed these facts some half- 


dozen times, and scrutinized them with all the critical acu- 
men I possess, did I become convinced of their objective 
reality. Still, desiring to place the matter beyond the 
shadow of doubt, I invited Mr. Home on several occasions 
to come to my own bouse, where, in the presence of a few 
scientific enquirers, these phenomena could be submitted to 
crucial experiments. 

The meetings took place in the evening, in a large room 
lighted by gas. The apparatus prepared for the purpose 
of testing the movements of the accordion, consisted of 
cage, formed of two wooden hoops, respectively 1 foot 10 
inches and 2 feet diameter, connected together by 12 nar- 
row laths, each 1 foot 10 inches long, so as to form a drum- 
shaped frame, open at the top and bottom; round this 50 
yards of insulated copper wire were wound in 24 rounds, 
each being rather less than an inch from its neighbor. The 
horizontal strands of wire were then netted together firmly 
with string, so as to form meshes rather less than 2 inches 
long by 1 inch high. The height of this cage was such that 
it would just slip under my dining-table, but be too close 
to the top to allow of the band being introdun <1 int.. t!,<- 
interior, or to admit of A foot being pushed un-lcrn. ath it. 
In another room were two Grove's cells, wires being led from 
them into the dining-room for connection, if with 
the wire surrounding the cage. 

The accordion was a new one, having been purchased by 
myself for the purpose of these cxjNTiinenN :it Wheats tone's, 
in Conduit Street. Mr. Home had neither hamlleil nor seen 
the instrument before the commencement of the test ex- 

In another part of the room an apparatus was fitted up 
for experimenting on the alteration in the weight of a body. 
It consisted of a mahogany board, 36 inches long by 9Vjj 
inches wide and 1 inch thick. At each end a strip of ma- 
hogany 1V& inches wide was screwed on, forming feet. One 
end of the board rested on a firm table, whilst the other end 
was supported by a spring balance hanging from a substan- 
tial tripod stand. The balance was fitted with a self-n 
tering index, in such a manner that it would record the 
maximum weight indicated by the pointer. The apparatus 





was adjusted so that the mahogany board was horizontal, its 
foot resting flat on the support. In this position its weight 
was 3 Ibs., as marked by the pointer of the balance. 

Before Mr. Home entered the room the apparatus had 
been arranged in position, and he had not even the object 
of some parts of it explained before sitting down. It may, 
perhaps, be worth while to add, for the purpose of anticipat- 
ing some critical remarks which are likely to be made, that in 
the afternoon I called for Mr. Home at his apartments, and 
when there he suggested that, as he had to change his dress, 
perhaps I should not object to continue our conversation in 
his bedroom. I am, therefore, enabled to state positively, 
that no machinery, apparatus, or contrivance of any sort was 
secreted about his person. 

The investigators present on the test occasion were an 
eminent physicist, high in the ranks of the Royal Society,* 
a well-known Serjeant-at-Law;f my brother; and my chem- 
ical assistant. 

Mr. Home sat in a low easy-chair at the side of the table. 
In front of him under the table was the aforesaid cage, one 
of his legs being on each side of it. I sat close to him on 
his left, and another observer sat close to him on his right, 
the rest of the party being seated at convenient distances 
round the table. 

For the greater part of the evening, particularly when any- 
thing of importance was proceeding, the observers on each 
side of Mr. Home kept their feet respectively on his feet, 
so as to be able to detect his slightest movement. 

The temperature of the room varied from 68 degree8 to 
70 degrees F. 

Mr. Home took the accordion between the thumb and 
middle finger of one hand at the opposite end to the keys 
(see PI. XII A) (to save repetition this will be subse- 
quently called " in the usual manner "). 

Having previously opened the bass key myself, and the 
cage being drawn from under the table so as just to allow 
the accordion to be pushed in with its keys downwards, it 

* Sir William Huggins, an astronomer well known for his discoveries 
in spectrum analysis, 
t Edward William Cox. 


was pushed back as close as Mr. Home's arm would per 
but without hiding bis hand from those next to him 
XII, Cut B). Very soon the accordion was seen by tho> 
each side to be waving about in a somewhat rim.-u- mm. 
then sounds came from it, and finally several notes were 
played in succession. Whilst this was going on, mv assistant 
went under the table, and reported that the accordion was ex- 
panding and contracting; at the sain*' time it was seen that 
the hand of Mr. Home by which it was held was quite still, 
his other hand resting on the table. 

Presently the accordion was seen by those on either side 
of Mr. Home to move about, oscillating and going roun.l 
and round the cage, and playing at the same time. Dr. A. 
B. now looked under the table, and said that Mr. Home's 
hand appeared quite still whilst the accordion was moving 
about emitting distinct sounds. 

Mr. Home still holding the accordion in the usual man 
in the cage, his feet being held by those next him, and his 
other hand resting on the table, we heard distinct and sepa- 
rate notes sounded in succession, and then a simple air wa 
played. As such a result could only have been produced b} 
the various keys of the instrument being actl iij.o,. in har 
monious succession, this was considered by those present to 
be a crucial experiment 

But the sequel was still more striking, far Mr. Home then 
removed his hand altogether from the accordion, taking it 
quite out of the cage, and placed it in the hand of the person 
next to him. The instrument then continued to play, no per- 
son touching it and no hand being near it. 

I was now desirous of trying what would be the effect of 
passing the battery current round the insulated wire of the 
cage, and my assistant accordingly made the connection with 
the wires from the two Grove's cells. Mr. Home again held 
the instrument inside the cage in the same manner as be- 
fore, when it immediately sounded and moved about vigor- 
ously. But whether the electric current passing round the 
cage assisted the manifestation of force inside, it is impossi- 
ble to say. 

After this experiment, the accordion, which he kept hold- 
ing in one hand, then commenced to play, at first chorda and 


runs, and afterwards a well-known sweet and plaintive mel- 
ody, which was executed perfectly in a very beautiful man- 
ner. Whilst this tune was being played I grasped Mr. 
Home's arm, below the elbow, and gently slid my hand down 
it until I touched the top of the accordion. He was not 
moving a muscle. His other hand was on the table, visible 
to all, and his feet were under the feet of those next to him. 

Having met with such striking results in the experiments 
with the accordion in the cage, we turned to the balance 
apparatus already described. Mr. Home placed the tips of 
his fingers lightly on the extreme end of the mahogany board, 
which was resting on the support, whilst Dr. A. B. and 
myself sat, one on each side of it, watching for any effect 
which might be produced. Almost immediately the pointer 
of the balance was seen to descend. After a few seconds it 
rose again. This movement was repeated several times, as 
if by successive waves of the psychic force. The end of the 
board was observed to oscillate slowly up and down during 
-the experiment. 

Mr. Home now of his own accord took a small hand-bell 
and a little card match-box, which happened to be near, and 
placed one under each hand, to satisfy us, as he said, that 
he was not producing the downward pressure (see Fig. 3). 
The very slow oscillation of the spring balance became more 
marked, and Dr. A. B., watching the index, said that he 
saw it descend to 6^ Ibs. The normal weight of the board 
as so suspended being 3 IbsT, the additional downward pull 
was therefore 3l/ Ibs. On looking immediately afterwards 
at the automatic register, we saw that the index had at one 
time descended as low as 9 Ibs., showing a maximum pull of 
6 Ibs. upon a board whose normal weight was 3 Ibs. 

In order to see whether it was possible to produce much 
effect on the spring balance by pressure at the place where 
Mr. Home's fingers had been, I stepped upon the table and 
stood on one foot at the end of the board. Dr. A. B., who 
was observing the index of the balance, said that the whole 
weight of my body (140 Ibs.) so applied only sunk the index 
l l /2 Ibs.j or 2 Ibs. when I shook it? Mr. Home had been 
sitting in a low easy-chair, and could not, therefore, had 
he tried his utmost, have exerted any material influence 


on these results. I need scarcely add that his feet as well 
as his hands were closely guarded by all in the room. 

This experiment appears to me more striking, if possible, 
than the one with the accordion. As will be seen on re- 
ferring to the cut (Fig. 3), the board was arranged per- 
fectly horizontally, and it was particularly noticed that Mr. 
Home's fingers were not at any time advanced more than 
iy> inches from the extreme end, as shown by a pencil- 
mark, which, with Dr. A. B.'s acquiescence, I made at tho 

Fio. 3. 

time. Now, the wooden foot being also 1V& inches wide, and 
resting flat on the table, it is evident that no amount of 
pressure exerted within this space of iVz inches could pro- 
duce any action on the balance. Again, it is also evident 
that when the end farthest from Mr. Home sank, the board 
would turn on the farther edge of this foot as on a fulcrum. 
The arrangement was consequently that of a see-saw, 36 
inches in length, the fulcrum being 1% inches from one end; 
were he, therefore, to have exerted a downward pressure, it 
would have been in opposition to the force which was causing 
the other end of the board to move down. 


The slight downward pressure shown by the balance when 
I stood on the board was owing probably to my foot extend- 
ing beyond this fulcrum. 

I have now given a plain, unvarnished statement of the 
facts from copious notes written at the time the occurrences 
were taking place, and copied out in full immediately after. 

Respecting the cause of these phenomena, the nature of the 
force to which, to avoid periphrasis, I have ventured to give 
the name of Psychic, and the correlation existing between 
that and the other forces of nature, it would be wrong to 
hazard the most vague hypothesis. Indeed, in inquiries con- 
nected so intimately with rare physiological and psycho- 
logical conditions, it is the duty of the inquirer to abstain 
altogether from framing theories until he has accumulated 
a sufficient number of facts to form a substantial basis upon 
which to reason. In the presence of strange phenomena as 
yet unexplored and unexplained following each other in such 
rapid succession, I confess it is difficult to avoid clothing 
their record in language of a sensational character. But, to 
be successful, an inquiry of this kind must be under- 
taken by the philosopher without prejudice and without sen- 
timent. Romantic and superstitious ideas should be entirely 
banished, and the steps of his investigation should be guided 
by intellect as cold and passionless as the instruments he uses. 

Apropos of this Mr. Cox wrote to Mr. Crooks : 

The results appear to me conclusively to establish the 
important fact, that there is a force proceeding from the 
nerve-system capable of imparting motion and weight to 
solid bodies within the sphere of its influence. 

I noticed that the force was exhibited in tremulous pulsa- 
tions, and not in the form of steady continuous pressure, the 
indicator rising and falling incessantly throughout the ex- 
periment. The fact seems to me of great significance, as 
tending to confirm the opinion that assigns its source to the 
nerve organization, and it goes far to establish Dr. Richard- 
son's important discovery of a nerve atmosphere of various 
intensity enveloping the human structure. 

Your experiments completely confirm the conclusion at 


which the Investigation Committee of the Dialectical Society 
arrived, after more than forty meetings for trial and test. 

Allow me to add that I can find no evidence even tending 
to prove that this force is other than a force proceeding 
from, or directly dependent upon, the human organization, 
and therefore, like all other forces of nature, wholly within 
the province of that strictly scientific investigation to which 
you have been the first to subject it. 

Now that it is proved by mechanical tests to be a fact 
in nature (and if a fact, it is impossible to exaggerate its 
importance to physiology and the light it must throw upon 
the obscure laws of life, of mind and the science of medi- 
cine) it cannot fail to command the immediate and most 
earnest examination and discussion by physiologists and by 
all who take an interest in that knowledge of " man," which 
has been truly termed " the noblest study of mankind." 

To avoid the appearance of any foregone conclusion, I 
would recommend tho adoption for it of some appropriate 
name, and I venture to suggest that the force be termed the 
Psychic Force; the persons in whom it is manifested in ex- 
traordinary power Psychics; and the science relating to it 
Psychism as, being a branch of psychology. 

The preceding article was published separately by Wil- 
liam Crookes in a special brochure which lies before me,* 
and which contains, in addition, the following study, not 
less curious from the human and anecdotical point of view 
than from the point of view of the experimenter in physics : 

When I first stated in this journal that I was about to 
investigate the phenomena of so-called Spiritualism, the an- 
nouncement called forth universal expressions of approval. 
One said that my " statements deserved respectful consid- 
eration " ; another expressed " profound satisfaction that the 
subject was about to be investigated by a man so thoroughly 
qualified as," etc. ; a third was " gratified to learn that the 

* Experimental Investigation on Psychic Force, by William Crookes, 
F. R. L., etc., London, Henry Oilman, 1871. The brochure was trans- 
lated into French by M. Alidel, Paris. Psychical Science Publishing 
House, 1807. 


matter is now receiving the attention of cool and clear-headed 
men of recognized position in science " ; a fourth asserted 
that " no one could doubt Mr. Crookes's ability to conduct 
the investigation with rigid philosophical impartiality " ; and 
a fifth was good enough to tell its readers that " if men like 
Mr. Crookes grapple with the subject, taking nothing for 
granted until it is proved, we shall soon know how much 
to believe." 

These remarks, however, were written too hastily. It was 
taken for granted by the writers that the results of my ex- 
periments would be in accordance with their preconceptions. 
What they really desired was not the truth, but an additional 
witness in favor of their own foregone conclusion. When 
they found that the facts which that investigation established 
could not be made to fit those opinions, why " so much the 
worse for the facts." They try to creep out of their own 
confident recommendations of the enquiry by declaring that 
" Mr. Home is a clever conjurer, who has duped us all." 
" Mr. Crookes might, with equal propriety, examine the per- 
formances of an Indian juggler." " Mr. Crookes must get 
better witnesses before he can be believed." " The thing is 
too absurd to be treated seriously." " It is impossible, and 
therefore can't be." * " The observers have all been biol- 
ogized ( !) and fancy they saw things occur which really 
never took place," etc. 

These remarks imply a curious oblivion of the very func- 
tions which the scientific enquirer has to fulfill. I am 
scarcely surprised when the objectors say that I have been 
deceived merely because they are unconvinced without per- 
sonal investigation, since the same unscientific course of a 
priori argument has been opposed to all great discoveries. 
When I am told that what I describe cannot be explained 
in accordance with preconceived ideas of the laws of nature, 
the objector really begs the very question at issue, and re- 
sorts to a mode of reasoning which brings science to a stand- 
still. The argument runs in a vicious circle: we must not 
assert a fact till we know that it is in accordance with the 
laws of nature, while our only knowledge of the laws of 

* The quotation occurs to me " I never said it was possible, I only 
said it was true." 


nature must be based on an extensive observation of facts. 
If a new fact seems to oppose what is called a law of nature, 
it does not prove the asserted fact to be false, but only that 
we have not yet ascertained all the laws of nature, or not 
learned them correctly. 

In his opening address before the British Association at 
Edinburgh this year (1871), Sir William Thomson said, 
" Science is bound by the everlasting law of honor to face 
fearlessly every problem which can fairly be presented to 
it" .M v object in thus placing on record the results of a 
very remarkable series of experiments is to present such a 
problem, which, according to Sir William Thomson, " Sci- 
ence is bound by the everlasting law of honor to face fear- 
lessly." It will not do merely to deny its existence, or try 
to sneer it down. Remember, I hazard no hypothesis or 
theory whatever; I merely vouch for certain facts, my only 
object being the truth. Doubt, but do not deny; point 
out, by the severest criticism, what are considered fallacies 
in my experimental tests, and suggest more conclusive trials ; 
but do not let us hastily call our senses lying witnesses 
merely because they testify against preconceptions. I say 
to my critics, Try the experiments; investigate with care 
and patience as I have done. If, having examined, you 
discover imposture or delusion, proclaim it and say how it 
was done. But, if you find it be a fact, avow it fearlessly, 
as " by the everlasting law of honor " you are bound to do. 

In this part of his work Professor Crookes recalls the ex- 
periments of Count de Gasparin and of Thury (detailed 
above) on the phenomenon of the movement of bodies without 
contact, a thing proved and demonstrated. We need not 
recur to that. He adds that the ecteneic force of Professor 
Thury and psychical force are equivalent terms, and that the 
nervous atmosphere or fluid of Dr. Benjamin Richardson 
also belongs here. 

Professor Crookes sent his observations to the Royal So< 
ciety, of which he is a member. The society refused his 
communications. The evidence goes to show that it had 


only approved of the gifted chemist's mixing in heretical 
and occult researches on consideration of his demonstrating 
the fallacy of all those prodigies. 

FIG. 4. 

FIG. 5. 

Professor Stokes, the secretary, refused to consider the 
subject at all, or to inscribe even t"he title of the papers in 

the society's publications. It was an exact repetition of 
what took place at the Academy of Science in Paris in 1853. 
Professor Crookes scorned these arbitrary and anti-scientific 
judgments and denials and answered them by publishing the 
detailed description of his experiments. The following are 
the essential point* of this description : 

Fw. 0. 

On trying these experiments for the first time, I thought 
that actual contact between Mr. Home's hands and the sus- 
pended body whose weight was to be altered was essential 
to the exhibition of the force; but I found afterwards that 
this was not a necessary condition, and I therefore arranged 
my apparatus in the following manner: 

The accompanying cuts (Figs. 4, 5, 6) explain the ar- 
rangement Fig. 4 is a general view, and Figs. 5 and 6 
show the essential parts more in detail. The reference let- 
ters are the same in each illustration. A B is a mahogany 
board, 36 inches long by 9*/2 inches wide and 1 inch thick. 
It is suspended at the end, B, by a spring balance, C, fur- 


nished with an automatic register, D. The balance is sus- 
pended from a very firm tripod support, E. 

The following piece of apparatus is not shown in the fig- 
ures. To the moving index, O, of the spring balance, a fine 
steel point is soldered, projecting horizontally outwards. In 
front of the balance, and firmly fastened to it, is a grooved 
frame carrying a flat box similar to the dark box of a photo- 
graphic camera. This box is made to travel by clock-work 
horizontally in front of the moving index, and it contains a 
sheet of plate-glass which has been smoked over a flame. 
The projecting steel point impresses a mark on this smoked 

If the balance is at rest, and the clock set going, the result 
is a perfectly straight horizontal line. If the clock is 
stopped and weights are placed on the end, B, of the board, 
the result is a vertical line, whose length depends on the 
weight applied. If, whilst the clock draws the plate along, 
the weight of the board (or the tension on the balance) va- 
ries, the result is a curved line, from which the tension in 
grains at any moment during the continuance of the experi- 
ments can be calculated. 

The instrument was capable of registering a diminution 
of the force of gravitation as well as an increase; regis- 
trations of such a diminution were frequently obtained. To 
avoid complication, however, I will only here refer to results 
in which an increase of gravitation was experienced. 

The end, B, of the board being supported by the spring 
balance, the end, A, is supported on a wooden strip, F, 
screwed across its lower side and cut to a knife edge (see 
Fig. 6). This fulcrum rests on a firm and heavy wooden 
stand, G H. On the board, exactly over the fulcrum, is 
placed a large glass vessel filled with water, I. L is a 
massive iron stand, furnished with an arm and ring, M N, 
in which rests a hemispherical copper vessel perforated with 
several holes at the bottom. 

The iron stand is two inches from the board, A B, and 
the arm and copper vessel, M ~N, are so adjusted that the 
latter dips into the water l 1 /^ inches, being 5 l /2 inches from 
the bottom of I, and 2 inches from its circumference. Shak- 
ing or striking the arm, M, or the vessel, N, produces no 



appreciable mechanical effect on the board, A 13, capable of 
affecting the balance. Dipping the hand to the fullest ex- 
tent into the water in N, does not produce the least appreci- 
able action on the balance. 

As the mechanical transmission of power by Mr. Hmr 
is by this means entirely cut off between the et>p|tT vessel 
and the board, A B, it follows that the power of muscular 
control is thereby completely eliminated. 

There was always ample light in the when- the 
experiments were conducted (my own dining-room) to sec 
all that took place. Furthermore, 1 n |><Mt.<l the experi- 
ments, not only with Mr. Home, but also with another per- 
son possessing similar powers. 


Fin. 7. 

Experiment I. The apparatus having been properly ad- 
justed bef.-re Mr. Home entered the room, he was brought 
in, and asked to place his finger* in the water in the copper 
vessel, N. He stood tip and dipped the tips of the fingers 
of his right hand in the water, his other hand and his feet 
being held. When he said he felt a power, force, or influ- 
ence, proceeding from his hand, I sot the clock going, and 
almost immediately the end, B, of the board was seen to 
descend slowly and remain down for about 10 seconds; it 
then descended a little farther, and afterwards rose to its 
normal height It then descended again, rose suddenly, 
gradually sunk for 17 seconds, and finally rose to its normal 
height, where it remained till tho experiment WJH r..m-lmll. 
The lowest point marked on the glass was equivalent to a di- 
rect pull of about 5,000 prains. The accompanying figure 
7 is a copy of the curve traced on the glass. 

Experiment II. Contact through water having proved 


to be as effectual as actual mechanical contact, I wished to 
see if the power or force could affect the weight, either 
through other portions of the apparatus or through the air. 
The glass vessel and iron stand, etc., were therefore re- 
moved, as an unnecessary complication, and Mr. Home's 
hands were placed on the stand of the apparatus at P (Fig. 
4). A gentleman present put his hand on Mr. Home's 
hands, and his foot on both Mr. Home's feet, and I also 
watched him closely all the time. At the proper moment the 
clock was again set going; the board descended and rose in 

FIG. 8. 

FIG. 9. 

FIG. 10. 

an irregular manner, the result being a curved tracing on the 
glass, of which Fig. 8 is a copy. 

Experiment III. Mr. Home was now placed 1 foot from 
the board, A B, on one side of it. His hands and feet were 
firmly grasped by a bystander, and another tracing, of which 
Fig. 9 is a copy, was taken on a moving glass plate. 

Experiment IV. (Tried on an occasion when the power 
was stronger than on the previous occasions.) Mr. Home 
was now placed three feet from the apparatus, his hands 
and feet being tightly held. The clock was set going when 


he gave the word, and the end, B, of the board soon de- 
scended, and again rose in an irregular manner, as shown in 
Fig. 10. 

The following series of experiments were tried with more 
delicate apparatus, and with another person, a lady, Mr. 
Home being absent. As the lady is non-professional, I do 

Fio. 11. 

Fio. 12. 

not mention her name. She has, however, consented to 
meet any scientific men whom I may introduce for purposes 
of investigation. 

A piece of thin parchment, A, Figs. 11 and 12, is stretched 
tightly across a circular hoop of wood. B C is a light lever 
turning on D. At the end, B, is a vertical needle-point 
touching the membrane, A, and at C is another needle-point, 
projecting horizontally and touching a smoked glass plate, 


E F. This glass plate is drawn along in the direction, H G, 
by clockwork, K. The end, B, of the lever is weighted so 
that it shall quickly follow the movements of the centre of 
the disc, A. These movements are transmitted and recorded 
on the glass plate, E F, by means of the lever and needle- 
point, C. Holes are cut in the side of the hoop to allow a 
free passage of air to the under side of the membrane. 
The apparatus was well tested beforehand by myself and 
others, to see that no shaking or jar on the table or support 
would interfere with the results. The line traced by the 
point, C, on the smoked glass was perfectly straight in spite 
of all our attempts to influence the lever by shaking the 
stand or stamping on the floor. 

Experiment V. Without having the object of the instru- 

FIG. 13. 

ment explained to her, the lady was brought into the room 
and asked to place her fingers on the wooden stand at the 
points, L M, Fig. 11. I then placed my hands over hers to 
enable me to detect any conscious or unconscious movement 
on her part. Presently percussive noises were heard on the 
parchment, resembling the dropping of grains of sand on its 
surface. At each percussion a fragment of graphite which 
I had placed on the membrane was seen to be projected up- 
wards about l-50th of an inch, and the end, C, of the lever 
moved slightly up and down. Sometimes the sounds were as 
rapid as those from an induction-coil, whilst at others they 
were more than a second apart. Five or six tracings were 
taken, and in all cases a movement of the end, C, of the lever 
was seen to have occurred with each vibration of the mem- 


Iii some cases the lady's bands were not so near the mem- 
brane as L M, but were at N O, Fig. 12. 

The accompanying figure 13 gives tracings taken from 
the plates used on these occasions. 

Experiment VI. Having met with these results in Mr. 
Home's absence, I was anxious to see what action would be 
produced on the instrument in his presence. 

Accordingly I asked him to try, but without explaining 
the instrument to him. 

I grasped Mr. Home's right arm above the wrist and held 


Fio. 15. 

his hand over the membrane, about 10 inches from its sur- 
face, in the position shown at P, Fig. 12. His other hand 
was held by a friend. After remaining in this position for 
about half a minute, Mr. Home said he felt some influence 
passing. I then set the clock going, and we all saw the 
index, C, moving up and down. The movements were much 
slower than in the former case, and were almost entirely 
unaccompanied by the percussive vibrations then notin .1. 

Figs. 14 and 15 show the curves produced on the glass 
on two of these occasions. 

Figs. 13, 14, 15 are magnified. 

These experiments confirm beyond doubt the conclusion 


at which I arrived in my former paper; namely, the exist- 
ence of a force associated, in some manner not yet explained, 
with the human organization, by which force increased 
weight is capable of being imparted to solid bodies without 
physical contact. 

Now, however, having seen more of Mr. Home, I think I 
perceive what it is that this psychic force uses up for its 
development. In employing the terms vital force, or nervous 
energy, I am aware that I am employing words which con- 
vey very different significations to many investigators; but 
after witnessing the painful state of nervous and bodily pros- 
tration in which some of these experiments have left Mr. 
Home after seeing him lying in an almost fainting con- 
dition on the floor, pale and speechless I could scarcely 
doubt that the evolution of psychic force is accompanied by 
a corresponding drain on vital force. 

To witness exhibitions of this force it is not necessary to 
have access to known psychics. The force itself is probably 
possessed by all human beings, although the individuals en- 
dowed with an extraordinary amount of it are doubtless few. 
Within the last twelve months I have met in private fami- 
lies five or six persons possessing a sufficiently vigorous de- 
velopment to make me feel confident that similar results 
might be produced through their means to those here re- 
corded, though less intense. 

These experiments continued to be the object of bitter 
and relentless criticism on the part of the recognized au- 
thorities in science and education in England. These per- 
sons absolutely refused to recognize their value. Professor 
Crookes amused himself, at times, by replying to these fan- 
tastic attacks, but, naturally, without convincing his uncom- 
promising opponents. It is unnecessary to reproduce these 
letters here; they can be found in the French edition of 
Crookes's Researches. The learned chemist did better still: 
he continued his researches into the domain of the Unknown, 
and got still more remarkable results still more extraor- 
dinary, more inexplicable, more incomprehensible. 

His notes continue as follows: 


Like a traveler exploring some distant country, the won- 
ders of which have hitherto been known only through reports 
and rumors of a vague or distorted character, so for four 
years have I been occupied in pushing an inquiry into a 
territory of natural knowledge which offers almost virgin 
soil to a scientific man. 

As the traveller sees in the natural phenomena he may 
witness the action of forces governed by natural laws, where 
others see only the capricious intervention of offended gods, 
so have I endeavored to trace the operation of natural laws 
and forces, where others have seen only the agency of super- 
natural beings, owning no laws, and obeying no force but 
their own free will. 

The phenomena I am prepared to attest are so extraordi- 
nary and so directly oppose the most firmly rooted articles 
of scientific belief amongst others, the ubiquity and in- 
variable action of the force of gravitation thtr MOW, 
on recalling the details of what I witnessed, there is an 
antagonism in my mind between reason, which pronounces 
it to be scientifically impossible, and the consciousness that 
my senses, both of touch and sight and these corrobo- 
rated, as they were, by the senses of all who were present, 
are not lying witnesses when they testify against my precon- 

But the supposition that there is a sort of mania or de- 
lusion which suddenly attacks a whole roomful of intelligent 
persons who are quite sane elsewhere, and that they all < 
cur to the minutest particulars, in the details of the ocvur- 
of which they suppose themselves to be witnesses, 
to my mind more incredible than even the facts they 

The subject is far more difficult and extensive than it 
appears. Four years ago I intended only to devote a leisure 
month or two to ascertain whether certain marvellous oc- 
currences I had heard about would stand the test of close 
scrutiny. Having, however, soon arrived at the same con- 
el union as, I may say, every impartial inquirer, that there 
was " something in it," I could not, as a student of nature's 
laws, refuse to follow the inquiry wheresoever the facts 
might lead Thus a few months have grown into a few 


years, and, were my time at my own disposal it would prob- 
ably extend still longer. 

My principal object will be to place on record a series of 
actual occurrences which have taken place in my own house, 
in the presence of trustworthy witnesses, and under as strict 
test conditions as I could devise. Every fact which I have 
observed is, moreover, corroborated by the records of inde- 
pendent observers at other times and places. It will be seen 
that the facts are of the most astounding character, and seem 
utterly irreconcilable with all known theories of modern sci- 
ence. Having satisfied myself of their truth,, it would be 
moral cowardice to withhold my testimony because my previ- 
ous publications were ridiculed by critics and others who 
knew nothing whatever of the subject, and who were too 
prejudiced to see and judge for themselves whether or not 
there was truth in the phenomena. I shall state simply 
what I have seen and proved by repeated experiment and 

Except where darkness has been a necessary condition, as 
with some of the phenomena of luminous appearances, and 
a few other instances, everything recorded has taken place 
in the light. In the few cases where the phenomena noted 
have occurred in darkness I have been very particular to 
mention the fact. Moreover, some special reason can be 
shown for the exclusion of light, or the results have been 
produced under such perfect test conditions that the sup- 
pression of one of the senses -has not really weakened the 

I have said that darkness is not essential. It is, however, 
a well-ascertained fact that when the force is weak a bright 
light exerts an interfering action on some of the phenomena. 
The power possessed by Mr. Home is sufficiently strong to 
withstand this antagonistic influence; consequently, he al- 
ways objects to darkness at his seances. Indeed, except on 
two occasions, when, for some particular experiments of my 
own, light was excluded, everything which I have witnessed 
with him has taken place in the light. I have had many 
opportunities of testing the action of light on different 
sources and colors, such as sunlight, diffused daylight, 
moonlight, gas, lamp, and candle-light, electric light from a 


vacuum tube, homogeneous yellow light, etc. The interfer- 
ing rays appear to be those at the extreme end of the spec- 

Professor Crookes next proceeds to classify the phenomena 
observed by him, going from the more simple to the more com- 
plex and giving in rapid review under each head, a sketch of 
some of the facts. In the abridgment of his report which 
follows I eliminate what has already been fully demonstrated 
elsewhere in this book. 

FIRST CLASS : The movement of Heavy Bodies with Con- 
tact, but without Mechanical Exertion. 

(This movement has been fully proved in this volume.) 

SECOND CLASS: The Phenomena of Percussive and other 
Allied Sounds. 

An important question here forces itself upon the atten- 
tion. Are the movements and sounds governed by intelli- 
gence f At a very early stage of the inquiry, it was seen that 
the power producing the phenomena was not merely a blind 
force, but was associated with or governed by intelligence. 
Thus the sounds to which I have just alluded will be repeated 
a definite number of times. They will come loud or faint, 
and in different places at request ; and by a pre-arranged code 
of signals, questions are answered, and messages given with 
more or less accuracy. 

The intelligence governing the phenomena is sometimes 
manifestly below that of the medium. It is frequently in 
direct opposition to the wishes of the medium. When a 
determination has been expressed to do something which 
might not be considered quite right, I have known urgent 
messages given to induce a reconsideration. The intelligence 
is sometimes of such a character as to lead to the belief that 
it does not emanate from any person present. 

THIRD CLASS: The Alteration of Weights of Bodies. 
(Experiments which have been already described.) 

FOURTH CLASS: Movements of Heavy Substances when 
at a distance from the Medium. The instances in which 
heavy bodies, such as tables, chairs, sofas, etc., have been 
moved, when the medium has not been touching them, are 

very numerous. I will briefly mention a few of the most 
striking. My own chair has been twisted partly round, 
whilst my feet were off the floor. A chair was seen by all 
present to move slowly up to the table from a far corner, 
when all were watching it. On another occasion an arm- 
chair moved to where we were sitting, and then moved slowly 
back again (a distance of about three feet) at my request. 
On three successive evenings a small table moved slowly 
across the room, under conditions which I had specially pre- 
arranged, so as to answer any objection which might be 
raised to the evidence. I have had several repetitions of 
the experiment considered by the Committee of the Dia- 
lectical Society to be conclusive, viz., the movement of a 
heavy table, in full light, the chairs turned with their backs 
to the table, about a foot off, and each person kneeling on his 
chair, with hands resting over the back of the chair, but not 
touching the table. On one occasion this took place when I 
was moving about so as to see how everyone was placed. 

FIFTH CLASS: The Rising of Tables and Chairs off the 
Ground, without Contact with any Person. 

(We need not recur to these matters.) 

SIXTH CLASS : The Levitation of Human Beings. The 
most striking cases of levitation which I have witnessed have 
been with Mr. Home. On three separate occasions have I 
seen him raised completely from the floor of the room. 
Once sitting in an easy-chair, once kneeling on his chair, 
and once standing up. On each occasion I had full oppor- 
tunity of watching the occurrence as it was taking place. 

There are at least a hundred recorded instances of Mr. 
Home's rising from the ground, in the presence of as many 
separate persons, and I have heard from the lips of the three 
witnesses to the most striking occurrence of this kind the 
Earl of Dunraven, Lord Lindsay, and Captain C. Wynne 
their own most minute accounts of what took place. To re- 
ject the recorded evidence on this subject is to reject all 
human testimony whatever ; for no fact in sacred or profane 
history is supported by a stronger array of proofs. 

SEVENTH CLASS: Movement of Various Small Articles 
without Contact with any Person. (As in the case of the 
sixth class, this is well known to my readers.) 


EIGHTH CLASS: Luminous Appearances. These, being 
rather faint, generally require the room to be darkened. I 
need scarcely remind my readers again that, under these 
circumstances, I have taken proper precautions to avoid be- 
ing imposed upon by phosphorized oil or other means. More- 
over, many of these lights are such as I have tried to imitate 
artificially, but cannot 

Under the strictest test conditions, I have seen a solid 
self-luminous body, the size and nearly the shape of a tur- 
key's egg, float noiselessly about the room, at one time higher 
than any one present could reach standing on tiptoe, and 
then gently descend to the floor. It was visible for more 
than ten minutes, and before it faded away it struck tho 
table three times with a sound like that of a hard solid body. 

During this time the medium was lying back, apparently 
insensible, in an easy-chair. 

I have eecn luminous points of light darting about and 
settling on the heads of ditTrn-nt |>rr-<>n-: 1 have had <| 
tions answered by the flashing of a bright light a desitvl 
number of times in front of my face. I have seen sparks 
of light rising from the table to the ceiling, and again fall- 
ing upon tho table, striking it with an audible sound. I 
have had an alphabetic communication given by luminous 
flashes occurring before me in the air, whilst my hand was 
moving about amongst them. I have seen a luminous cloud 
floating upwards to a picture. Vmlrr the strictest test con- 
ditions, I have more than once had a solid, self-luminous, 
crystalline body placed in my hand by a hand which did 
not belong to any person in the room. In the light, I have 
seen a luminous cloud hover over a heliotrope on a side 
table, break a sprig off, and carry it to a lady ; and on some 
occasions I have seen a similar luminous cloud visibly con- 
dense to the form of a hand and carry small objects about 

NINTH CLASS: The Appearance of Hands, either Self- 
Luminous or Visible by Ordinary Light. During a seance 
in full light a beautifully-formed small hand rose up from 
an opening in a dining-table and gave me a flower; it ap- 
peared and then disappeared three times at intervals, afford- 
inp me ample opportunity of satisfying myself that it was 
as real in appearance as my own. This occurred in the light 


in my own room, whilst I was holding the medium's hands 
and feet. 

On another occasion, a small hand and arm, like a baby's, 
appeared playing about a lady who was sitting next to me. 
It then patted my arm and pulled my coat several times. 

At another time, a finger and thumb were seen to pick 
the petals from a flower in Mr. Home's button-hole, and lay 
them in front of several persons who were sitting near him. 

A hand has been repeatedly seen by myself and others 
playing the keys of an accordion, both of the medium's hands 
being visible at the same time, and sometimes being held by 
those near him. 

The hands and fingers do not always appear to me to 
be solid and life-like. Sometimes, indeed, they present more 
the appearance of a nebulous cloud partly condensed into the 
form of a hand. This is not equally visible to all present. 
If or instance, a flower or other small object is seen to move; 
one person present will see a luminous cloud hovering over 
it, another will detect a nebulous-looking hand, whilst others 
will see nothing at all but the moving flower. I have more 
than once seen, first an object move, then a luminous cloud 
appear to form about it, and, lastly, the cloud condense into 
shape and become a perfectly-formed hand. At this stage 
the hand is visible to all present. It is not always a mere 
form, but sometimes appears perfectly life-like and graceful, 
the fingers moving, and the flesh apparently as human as that 
of any in the room. At the wrist, or arm, it becomes hazy, 
and fades off into a luminous cloud. 

To the touch, the hand sometimes appears icy-cold and 
dead, at other times, warm and life-like, grasping my own 
with the firm pressure of an old friend. 

I have retained one of these hands in my own, firmly 
resolved not to let it escape. There was no struggle or ef- 
fort made to get loose, but it gradually seemed to resolve 
itself into vapor, and faded in that manner from my grasp. 

TENTH CLASS: Direct Writing. (The learned chemist 
cites some remarkable examples obtained by him. We need 
not speak of them in this book.) 

ELEVENTH CLASS : Phantom Forms and Faces. These 
are the rarest of the phenomena I have witnessed. The con- 


ditions requisite for their appearance appear to be so deli- 
cate, and such trifles interfere with their production, that 
only on very few occasions have I witnessed them under sat- 
isfactory test conditions. I will mention two of these cases. 

In the dusk of the evening, during a seance with Mr. 
Home at my house, the curtains of a window about eight 
feet from Mr. Home were seen to move. A dark, shadowy, 
semi-transparent form, like that of a man, was then seen 
by all present standing near the window, waving the curtain 
with his hand. As we looked, the form faded away, and 
the curtains ceased to move. 

The following is a still more striking instance. As in 
the former case, Mr. Home was the medium. A phantom 
form came from a corner of the room, took an accordion in 
its hand, and then glided about the room playing the instru- 
ment. The form was visible to all present for many min- 
utes, Mr. Home also being seen at the same time. Coming 
rather close to a lady who was sitting apart from the rest 
of the company, she gave a slight cry, upon which it van- 

TWELFTH CLASS: Special Instances which seem to point 
to the Agency of an Exterior Intelligence. It has already 
been shown that the phenomena are governed by an intelli- 
gence. It becomes a question of importance as to the source 
of that intelligence. Is it the intelligence of the medium, of 
any of the other persons in the room, or is it an exterior 
intelligence? Without wishing at present to speak posi- 
tively on this point, I may say that whilst I have observed 
many circumstances which appear to show that the will and 
intelligence of the medium have much to do with the phe- 
nomena, I have observed some circumstances which seem con- 
clusively to point to the agency of an outside intelligence, 
not belonging to any human being in the room. Space does 
not allow me to give here all the arguments which can be 
adduced to prove these points, but I will briefly mention 
one or two circumstances out of many. 

I have been present when several phenomena were going 
on at the same time, some being unknown to the medium. 
I have been with Miss Fox when she has been writing a 
message automatically to one person present, whilst a message 


to another person on another subject was being given alpha- 
betically by means of " raps," and the whole time she was 
conversing freely with a third person on a subject totally 
different from either. 

Perhaps a more striking instance is the following : 
During a seance with Mr. Home, a small lath, which I 
have before mentioned, moved across the table to me, in the 
light, and delivered a message to me by tapping my hand, I 
repeating the alphabet, and the lath tapping me at the right 
letters. The other end of the lath was resting on the table, 
some distance from Mr. Home's hands. 

The taps were so sharp and clear, and the lath was evi- 
dently so well under control of the invisible power which 
was governing its movements, that I said, " Can the intelli- 
gence governing the motion of this lath change the character 
of the movements, and give me a telegraphic message through 
the Morse alphabet by taps on my hand ? " (I have every 
reason to believe that the Morse code was quite unknown 
to any other person present, and it was only imperfectly 
known to me.) Immediately I said this, the character of the 
taps changed, and the message was continued in the way I 
had requested. The letters were given too rapidly for me 
to do more than catch a word here and there, and conse- 
quently I lost the message; but I heard sufficient to con- 
vince me that there was a good Morse operator at the other 
end of the line, wherever that might be. 

Another instance. A lady was writing automatically by 
means of the planchette. I was trying to devise a means of 
proving that what she wrote was not due to " unconscious 
cerebration." The planchette, as it always does, insisted 
that, although it was moved by the hand and the arm of the 
lady, the intelligence was that of an invisible being who was 
playing on her brain as on a musical instrument, and thus 
moving her muscles. I therefore said to this intelligence, 
" Can you see the contents of this room ? " " Yes," wrote 
the planchette. " Can you see to read this newspaper ? " 
said I, putting my finger on a copy of the Times, which was 
on a table behind me, but without looking at it. " Yes," 
was the reply of the planchette. " Well," I said, " if you 
can see that, write the word which is now covered by my 


finger, and I will believe you." The planchette commenced 
to move. Slowly tnd with great difficulty the word " how- 
ever " was written. I turned round and saw that the word 
** however " wt covered by the tip of my finger. 

I had purposely avoided looking at the newspaper when 
I tried this experiment, and it was impossible for the lady, 
had she tried, to have seen any of the printed words, for she 
was sitting at one table, and the paper was on another table 
behind, my body intervening. 

TiiurTKcicTii CLABS: Miscellaneous Occurrences of a 
Complex Character. 

(Professor Crookea here cites two examples of the trans- 
ference of mailer through matter, a bell passing from 
neighboring room into that in which the seance waa being 
held, and a flower separating from a bouquet and passing 
through the table.) 

The space at my disposal will not permit me to give more 
details here ; but all my readers must appreciate, as I do, the 
importance of these experiments of tin- anim-nt dirmist. I 
will especially call attention to the proofs they afford of the 
presence of a mind or intelligence, other than (hat of the 
experimenters; to the formation of hands and spirit-forms; 
and to the passage of matter through matter. 

These experiments date from the years 1871 to 1873. 
During the last mentioned year, a new medium, endowed 
with particularly remarkable powers, appeared in London, 
namely, Miss Florence Cook, who was born in 1856, and 
was, therefore, seventeen in 1873. Since the preceding year 
(1872), she had often seen the apparition by her side of a 
young girl. This spectral form had taken a liking to her, 
and told her she was called Katie King in the other world, 
and had been a lady called Annie Morgan during one of her 
lives on earth. Some observers told marvellous stories of 
these apparitions, which they also saw, among them being 
William Harrison, Benjamin Coleman, Mr. Luxmore, Dr. 
Sexton, Dr. Gully, the Prince of Sayn Wittgenstein, who 


have all published accounts of them which breathe an 
air of sincere belief. Professor Crookes got in touch with 
this new medium in December, 1873. In The Spiritualist 
a journal edited by Mr. Harrison, at whose home several 
sittings had taken place there appeared in the numbers 
for February and March, 1874, two letters from Professor 
Crookes. A few extracts from these letters here follow: 

I have reason to know that the power at work in these 
phenomena, like Love, " laughs at locksmiths." 

The seance of which you speak and at which I was pres- 
ent, was held at the house of Mr. Luxmore, and the " cab- 
inet " was a back drawing-room separated from the front 
room in which the company sat by a curtain. 

The usual formality of searching the room and examining 
the fastenings having been gone through, Miss Cook entered 
the cabinet. 

After a little time the form of Katie appeared at the 
side of the curtain, but soon retreated, saying her medium 
was not well, and could not be put into a sufficiently deep 
sleep to make it safe for her to be left. 

I was sitting within a few feet of the curtain close 
behind which Miss Cook was sitting, and I could frequently 
hear her moan and sob, as if in pain. This uneasiness con- 
tinued at intervals nearly the whole duration of the seance, 
and once, when the form of Katie was standing before me in 
the room, I distinctly heard a sobbing, moaning sound, iden- 
tical with that which Miss Cook had been making at intervals 
the whole time of the seance, come from behind the curtain 
where the young lady was supposed to be sitting. 

I admit that the figure was startlingly life-like and real, 
and, as far as I could see in the somewhat dim light, the 
features resembled those of Miss Cook ; but still the positive 
evidence of one of my own senses that the moan came from 
Miss Cook in the cabinet, whilst the figure was outside, is 
too strong to be upset by a mere inference to the contrary, 
however well supported. 

Your readers, sir, know me, and will, I hope, believe that 
I will not come hastily to an opinion, or ask them to agree 
with me on insufficient evidence. It is perhaps expecting 


too much to think that the little incident I have mentioned 
will have the same weight with them that it had with m.-. 
But this I do beg of them Let those who are inclined t> 
judge Miss Cook harshly suspend their judgment until 1 
bring forward positive evidence which I think will be sulH 
cient to settle the question. 

Miss Cook is now devoting herself exclusively to a series 
of private seances with me and one or two friends, 
seances will probably extend over some months, and I am 
promised that every desirable test shall be given to me. 
These imcum have not been going on many weeks, Urn 
enough has taken place to thoroughly convince me of the 
perfect truth and honesty of Miss Cook, and to give me 
every reason to expect that the promises so freely made to 
me by Katie will be kept. 

\\ 1 1. 1.1 AM ( KOOKE8. 

Here is the second letter from the cautious investigator : 

In a letter which I wrote to this journal early in February 
last, speaking of the phenomena of spirit-forms which have. 
appeared through Miss Cook's mediumship, I said, " 
thine who arc inclined to judge Miss Cook harshly suspend 
their judgment until I bring forward positive r\i<lin- 
which I think will be sufficient to settle the question." 

In that letter I described an incident which, to my mind, 
went very far towards convincing me that Katie and Miss 
Cook were two separate material beings. When Katie was 
outside the cabinet, standing before me, I heard a moaning 
noise from Miss Cook in the cabinet. I am happy to say 
that I have at last obtained the " absolute proof " to which 
rn-d in the above-quoted letter. 

On March 12th, during a seance here, after Katie had 
been walking amongst us and talking for some time, she 
retreated behind the curtain which separated my laboratory, 
where the company was sitting, from my library which did 
temporary duty as a cabinet. In a minute she came to the 
curtain and called me to her, saying, " Come into the room 
and lift my medium's head up, she has slipped down." 
Katie was then standing before me clothed in her usual 
white robes and turban head-dress. I immediately walked 
into the library up to Miss Cook, Katie stepping aside to 


allow me to pass. I found Miss Cook had slipped partially 
off the sofa, and her head was hanging in a very awkward 
position. I lifted her on to the sofa, and in so doing had 
satisfactory evidence, in spite of the darkness, that Miss 
Cook was not attired in the " Katie " costume, but had on 
her ordinary black velvet dress, and was in a deep trance. 
Not more than three seconds elapsed between my seeing the 
white-robed Katie standing before me and my raising Miss 
Cook onto the sofa from the position into which she had 

On returning to my post of observation by the curtain, 
Katie again appeared, and said she thought she would be 
able to show herself and her medium to me at the same time. 
The gas was then turned out and she asked for my phos- 
phorus lamp. After exhibiting herself by it for some sec- 
onds, she handed it back to me, saying, " Now come in and 
see my medium." I closely followed her into the library, 
and by the light of my lamp saw Miss Cook lying on the 
sofa just as I had left her. I looked round for Katie, but 
she had disappeared. I called her, but there was no answer. 

On resuming my place, Katie soon reappeared, and told 
me that she had been standing close to Miss Cook all the 
time. She then asked if she might try an experiment her- 
self, and taking the phosphorus lamp from me she passed 
behind the curtain, asking me not to look in for the present. 
In a few minutes she handed the lamp back to me, saying 
she could not succeed, as she had used up all the power, but 
would try again another time. My eldest son, a lad of four- 
teen, who was sitting opposite me, in such a position that he 
could see behind the curtain, tells me he distinctly saw the 
phosphorus lamp apparently floating about in space over 
Miss Cook, illuminating her as she lay motionless on the 
sofa, but he could not see anyone holding the lamp. 

I pass on to a seance held last night at Hackney. Katie 
never appeared to greater perfection, and for nearly two 
hours she walked about the room, conversing familiarly with 
those present On several occasions she took my arm when 
walking, and the impression conveyed to my mind that it 
was a living woman by my side, instead of a visitor from 
the other world, was so strong that the temptation to repeat 
a recent celebrated experiment became almost irresistible. 


Feeling, however, that if I had not a spirit, I had at nil 
events a lady close to me, I asked her jx'rmission to clasp 
her in my arms, so as to be able to verify the interesting 
observations which a bold experimentalist has recently some- 
what verbosely recorded. Permission was graciously given, 
and I accordingly did well, as any gentleman would do 
under the circumstance*. Mr. Volckman will be pleased to 
know that I can corroborate his statement that the " ghost " 
(not "struggling" however) was as material a being as 
Miss Cook herself. 

Katie now said she thought she would be able this time 
to show herself and Miss Cook together. 1 was to turn the 
gas out, and then come with my phosphorus lamp into the 
room now used a* a cabinet This I did, having previously 
asked a friend who was skillful at shorthand to take down 
any statement I might make when in the eabinet, knowing 
the importance attaching to first impressions, and not wish- 
ing to leave more to memory than necessary. His notes are 
now before me. 

I went cautiously into the room, it being dark, and felt 
about for Miss Cook. I found her crouching on the floor. 

Kneeling down, I let air enter the lamp, and by its light 
I saw the young lady dressed in black velvet, as she had been 
in the early part of the evening, and to all appearance per- 
fectly senseless; she did not move when I took her hand 
and held the light quite close to her face, but continued 
quietly breathing. 

Raining the lamp, I looked around and saw Katie stand- 
ing close behind Miss Cook. She was robed in flowing 
white drapery as we bad seen her previously during the 
seance. Holding one of Miss Cook's hands in mine, and 
still kneeling, I passed the lamp up and down so as to il- 
luminate Katie's whole figure, and satisfy myself thoroughly 
that I was really looking at the veritable Katie whom I had 
ehi-ped in my arms a few minutes before, and not at the 
phantasm of a disordered brain. She did not speak, but 
moved her head and smiled in recognition. Three separate 
times did I carefully examine Miss Cook crouching be; 
me, to be sure that the hand I held was that of a living 
woman, and three separate times did I turn the lamp to 


Katie and examine her with steadfast scrutiny, until I had 
no doubt whatever of her objective reality. At last Miss 
Cook moved slightly, and Katie instantly motioned me to 
go away. I went to another part of the cabinet, and then 
ceased to see Katie, but did not leave the room till Miss 
Cook woke up, and two of the visitors came in with a light. 

Before concluding this article I wish to give some of the 
points of difference which I have observed between Miss 
Cook and Katie. Katie's height varies; in my house I 
have seen her six inches taller than Miss Cook. Last night, 
with bare feet, and not " tiptoeing," she was four-and-a-half 
inches taller than Miss Cook. Katie's neck was bare last 
night ; the skin was perfectly smooth both to touch and sight, 
whilst on Miss Cook's neck is a large blister, which under 
similar circumstances is distinctly visible and rough to the 
touch. Katie's ears are unpierced, whilst Miss Cook habit- 
ually wears earrings. Katie's complexion is very fair, while 
that of Miss Cook is very dark. Katie's fingers are much 
longer than Miss Cook's, and her face is also larger. In 
manners and ways of expression there are also many decided 

After the observations summarized in these two letters 
Professor Crookes continued his experiments at his own 
home, for a space of two months. The result of all is em- 
bodied in the following statements made by Crookes him- 

During the week before Katie took her departure she 
gave seances at my house almost nightly, to enable me to 
photograph her by artificial light. Five complete sets of 
photographic apparatus were accordingly fitted up for the 
purpose, consisting of five cameras, one of the whole-plate 
size, one half-plate, one quarter-plate, and two binocular 
stereoscopic cameras, which were all brought to bear upon 
Katie at the same time on each occasion on which she stood 
for her portrait. Five sensitizing and five fixing baths were 
used, and plenty of plates were cleaned ready for use in 
advance, so that there might be no hitch or delay during 


the photographic operations, which were performed by my- 
self, aided by one assistant. 

My library was used as a dark cabinet It has folding 
doors opening into the laboratory; one of these doors was 
taken off its hinges, and a curtain suspended in its place to 
enable Katie to pass in and out easily. Those of our friends 
who were present were seated in the laboratory facing the 
curtain, and the camera* were placed a little behind them, 
ready to photograph Katie when she came outside, and to 
photograph anything also inside the cabinet, whenever the 
curtain was withdrawn for the purpose. Each evening then- 
were three or four exposures of plates in the five cameras, 
giving at least fifteen separate pictures at each seance; some 
of these were spoilt in the developing, and some in regulat- 
ing the amount of light. Altogether, I have forty-four nega- 
tives, some inferior, some indifferent, ami some excellent 

Katie instructed all the sitters but myself to keep their 
Mats and to keep conditions; but for some time past she has 
given me permission to do what I liked to touch her, and 
to enter and leave the cabinet almost whenever 1 pleased. I 
have frequently followed her into the cabinet, and have 
sometimes seen her and her medium together, but most 
orally I have found nobody but the entranced medium Km^ 
on the floor, Katie and her white robes having instantane- 
ously disappeared. 

I hiring the last six months Miss Cook has been a ' 

r at my house, remaining sometimes a week at 
a time. She brings nothing with her but a little hand-bag, 
not loeknl. 1 hiring the day she is constantly in the pres- 
ence of Mrs. Crookea, myself, or some other member of my 
family, and, not sleeping by herself, there is absolutely no 
opportunity for any preparation even of a less elaborate 
character than would be required for enacting Katie King. 
I prepare and arrange my library myself as the dark cabinet, 
and usually, after Miss Cook has been dining and convers- 
ing with us, and scarcely out of our sight for a minute, 
walks directly into the cabinet, and I, at her request, lock 
its second door, and keep possession of the key all through 
the seance. The gas is then turned out, and Miss Cook is 
left in darkness. 


On entering the cabinet, Miss Cook lies down upon the 
floor, with her head on a pillow, and is soon entranced. 
During the photographic seance, Katie muffled her medium's 
head up in a shawl to prevent the light falling upon her 
face. I frequently drew the curtain on one side when 
Katie was standing near, and it was a common thing for 
the seven or eight of us in the laboratory to see Miss Cook 
and Katie at the same time, under the full blaze of the 
electric light. We did not on these occasions actually see 
the face of the medium because of the shawl, but we saw 
her hands and feet; we saw her move uneasily under the 
influence of the intense light, and we heard her moan occa- 
sionally. I have one photograph of the two together, but 
Katie is seated in front of Miss Cook's head. 

During the time I took an active part in these seances 
Katie's confidence in me gradually grew, until she refused 
to give a seance unless I took charge of the arrangements. 
She said she always wanted me to keep close to her, and 
near the cabinet, and I found that after this confidence was 
established, and she was satisfied I would not break any 
promise I might make to her, the phenomena increased 
greatly in power, and tests were freely given that would 
have been unobtainable had I approached the subject in 
another manner. She often consulted me about persons pres- 
ent at the seances, and where they should be placed, for of 
late she had become very nervous, in consequence of certain 
ill-advised suggestions that force should be employed as an 
adjunct to more scientific modes of research. 

One of the most interesting of the pictures is one in which 
I am standing by the side of Katie; she has her bare foot 
upon a particular part of the floor. Afterwards I dressed 
Miss Cook like Katie, placed her and myself in exactly the 
same position, and we were photographed by the same cam- 
eras, placed exactly as in the other experiment, and illum- 
inated by the same light. When these two pictures are 
placed over each other, the two photographs of myself co- 
incide exactly as regards stature, etc., but Katie is half a 
head taller than Miss Cook, and looks a big woman in com- 
parison with her. In the breadth of her face, in many of 
the pictures, she differs essentially in size from her medium, 


and the photographs show several other points of difference. 
But photography is as inadequate to depict the perfect 
beauty of Katie's face as words are powerless to describe 
her charms of manner. Photography may, indeed, give a 
map of her countenance; but how can it reproduce the bril- 
liant purity of her complexion, or the ever-varying expres- 
sion of her most mobile features, now overshadowed with 
sadness when relating some of the bitter experiences of her 
past life, now smiling with all the innocence of happy girl- 
hood when she had collected my children round her and was 
amusing them by recounting anecdotes of her adventures in 

" Round her the made an atmosphere of life; 

The very air aeemed lighter from her eye*, 
They were ao aoft and beautiful, and rife 
\\ ith all we can imagine of the akiea; 
Her overpowering prom-nee made you feel 
It would not be idolatry to kneel." 

Having seen so much of Katie lately, when she has been 
illuminated by the electric light, I am enabled to add to the 
points of difference between her and her medium which 1 
mentioned in a former article. I have the most absolute 
certainty that Miss Cook and Katie are two separate indi- 
viduals so far as their bodies arc concerned. Several little 
marks on Miss Cook's face are absent on Katie's. Mi-- 
Cook's hair is so dark a brown as almost to appear black; 
a lock of Katie's, which is now before me, and which she 
allowed me to cut from her luxuriant tresses, having first 
traced it up to the scalp and satisfied myself that it actually 
grew there, is a rich golden auburn. 

One evening I timed Katie's pulse. It beat steadily at 
75, whilst Miss Cook's pulse a little time after was going 
at its usual rate of 90. On applying my ear to Katie's 
rlu-t I could hear a heart beating rhythmically inside, and 
pulsating even more steadily than did Miss Cook's heart 
when she allowed me to try a similar experiment after the 
seance. Tested in the same way, Katie's lungs were found 
to be sounder than her medium's, for at the time I tried 
my experiment Miss Cook was under medical treatment for 
a severe cough. 


This mysterious being, this strange Katie King, had an- 
nounced, from the time of her first appearances, that she 
would be able to show herself in this way for only three years. 
The end of this period was now approaching. 

When the time came for Katie to take her farewell I asked 
that she would let me see the last of her. Accordingly when 
she had called each of the company up to her and had spoken 
to them a few words in private, she gave some general di- 
rections for the future guidance and protection of Miss Cook. 
From these, which were taken down in shorthand, I quote the 
following: "Mr. Crookes has done very well throughout, 
and I leave Florrie with the greatest confidence in his hands, 
feeling perfectly sure he will not abuse the trust I place in 
him. He can act in any emergency better than I can my- 
self, for he has more strength." Having concluded her di- 
rections Katie invited me into the cabinet with her, and 
allowed me to remain there to the end. 

After closing the curtain she conversed with me for some 
time, and then walked across the room to where Miss Cook 
was lying senseless on the floor. Stooping over her, Katie 
touched her, and said : " Wake up, Florrie, wake up ! I 
must leave you now." 

Miss Cook then woke and tearfully entreated Katie to 
stay a little time longer. "My dear, I can't; my work is 
done. God bless you," Katie replied, and then continued 
speaking to Miss Cool?:. For several minutes the two were 
conversing with each other, till at last Miss Cook's tears 
prevented her speaking. Following Katie's instructions I 
then came forward to support Miss Cook, who was falling 
onto the floor, sobbing hysterically. I looked round, but 
the white-robed Katie had gone. As soon as Miss Cook 
was sufficiently calmed, a light was procured and I led her 
out of the cabinet. 

One word more about this astonishing phenomenon. The 
medium Home, employed, as we have seen, in the first ex- 
periments of Professor Crookes, gave it to me as his per- 
sonal opinion that Miss Cook was only a skilful trickster, 


and had shamefully deceived the eminent scientist, and as 
for mediums, why there was only one absolutely trustworthy 
and that was himself, Daniel Dunglas Home! He even 
added that the fiance of Miss Cook had given striking proofs 
of her extreme cantankerousness 1 

He who has observed at close hand the rivalries of me- 
diums which are as strongly marked as those of doctors, 
actors, musicians and women will not, it seems to me, 
find in this talk of Home any intrinsic value whatever. But 
I must confess that this matter of Katie King is realU 
extraordinary that I am forced to try every possible ex- 
planation before admitting its truth. This is also the 
opinion of Mr. Crookes himself. 

In order to convince myself (says he) I was constantly 
on my guard, and Miss Cook readily assisted me in all my 
investigations. Every test that I have proposed she has at 
once agreed to submit to with the utmost willingness; she 
is open and straightforward in speech, and I have never 
seen anything approaching the slightest symptom of a wish 
to deceive. Indeed, I do not believe she could carry on a 
deception if she were to try, and if she did she would cer- 
tainly be found out very quickly, for such a line of action is 
altogether foreign to her nature. And to imagine that an 
innocent school-girl of fifteen would be able to conceive and 
then successfully carry out for three years so gigantic an 
imposture as this, and in that time would submit to any test 
which might be imposed upon her, would bear the strictest 
scrutiny, would be willing to be searched at any time, either 
before or after a seance, and would meet with even better 
success in my own house than at that of her parents, knowing 
that she visited me with the express object of submitting to 
strict scientific tests to imagine, I say, the Katie King 
of the last three years to be the result of imposture does 
more violence to one's reason and common sense than to 
believe her to be what she herself affirms. 


It will perhaps not be superfluous to round out these ac- 


counts of William Crookes by giving an extract from the 
journal The Spiritualist of the 29th of May, 1874. 

From the beginning of the mediumship of Miss Cook, the 
spirit Katie King or Annie Morgan, who had produced the 
greater portion of the physical part of the manifestations, 
had announced that she would not be able to be with her 
medium longer than three years, and that after that time 
she would say good-bye to her forever. 

The end of that period came last Thursday ; but before 
leaving her medium, she gave her friends three more 

The last took place on Thursday, the 21st of May, 1874. 
Among the spectators was Prof. William Crookes. 

At 7.23 in the evening Professor Crookes led Miss Cook 
into the dark cabinet, where she lay down upon the floor, 
her head resting on a cushion. At 7.28 Katie spoke for 
the first time, and at 7.30 she showed herself outside of the 
curtain in her full form. She was dressed in white, short 
sleeves and bare neck. She had long light auburn hair of a 
rich tint, falling in curls on each side of her head and down 
her back to her waist. She wore a long white veil which 
was not drawn down over her face more than once or twice 
during the sitting. 

The medium wbre a light blue merino robe. During al- 
most the whole of the seance, Katie remained standing before 
us. The curtain of the cabinet was drawn aside and all 
could distinctly see the medium lying asleep, having her 
face covered with a red shawl, in order to shield it from the 
light. Katie spoke of her approaching departure and ac- 
cepted a bouquet which Mr. Tapp had brought her, as well 
as a bunch of lilies offered by Mr. Crookes. She asked Mr. 
Tapp to untie the bouquet and to put the flowers before her 
on the floor. She then sat down in the Turkish style and 
asked all to sit around her in the same way. Then she di- 
vided the flowers and gave to each a little bouquet tied up 
with a blue ribbon. 

She then wrote letters to some of her friends, signing 
them " Annie Owen Morgan," saying that was her true 
name during her life on earth. She also wrote a letter to. 


her medium, and chose for her a rosebud as a good-bye gift. 
Katie then took the scissors, cut off a lock of her hair and 
pave some of it to all of us. She then took Mr. Crookes' 
hand and made the tour of the room, pressing the hand of 
each of us in turn. She then sat down again and cut off 
several pieces of her robe and of her veil for remembrances. 
Seeing such holes in her robe (she being seated all this while 
between Mr. Crookes and Mr. Tapp), some one asked her 
if she could repair the damage, as she had done on previous 
occasions. She then held the cut part of the robe in the 
light, gave one rap upon it, and instantly that part was 
whole and unblemished as before. Those near her touched 
and examined the stuff, with her permission. They affirmed 
that there was neither hole nor seam, nor anything added 
at the very place where an instant before they had seen 
holes several inches in diameter. 

She next gave her last instructions to Mr. Crookes. Then, 
naming fatigued, she added that her force was disappearing, 
and repeated her good-bye to everyone in the most affection- 
ate manner. All present thanked her for the wonderful 
manifestations which she had given them. 

While she was directing toward her friends a last grave 
and pensive look, she let fall the curtain, and it hid her 
from our view. We heard her waking up the medium, who 
begged her with tears to remain a little longer. But Katie 
said, " It is impossible, my dear ; my mission is accom- 
plished ; God bless you ! " And we heard the sound of a 
kiss. The medium then came out among us wholly ex- 
hausted and in a state of deep dismay. 

Such are the experiments of Sir William Crookes. I have 
restricted myself to relating his own personal observations, 
as set forth by himself. The story of Katie King is truly 
one of the most mysterious, the most incredible, to be found 
in the whole history of Spiritualistic research, and is at the 
same time, one of the cases that have been most scrupulously 
studied by the experimental method, including photography. 

The medium, Miss Florence Cook, married in 1874 Mr. 


Elgie Corner, and, from that time on, her contributions to 
psychical research almost ceased. I have several times been 
assured that she also had been caught in the very act of 
cheating. (Always that feminine hysteria!) But the in- 
vestigations of Crookes were conducted with such care and 
competence, that it is very difficult to refuse our credence. 
Besides, this scientist was not the only one to study the 
mediumship of Florence Cook. Among other works that 
may be consulted on this subject is one containing a large 
number of proofs and testimonies, as well as several photo- 
graphs (alluded to above).* 

These recorded cases, or testimonies, form a collection of 
records, the study of which is most instructive. The study 
of the great chemist surpass the rest, to be sure, but it does 
not diminish the intrinsic value of the others. All the ob- 
servations agree and mutually confirm each other. 

As to the explanation of the phenomena, Crookes thinks 
that we cannot discover it. Was this apparition what it 
claimed to be ? There is nothing to prove it. 

Might it not be a double of the medium, a product of her 
psychic force ? 

The learned chemist did not change his opinion (as has 
been claimed) about the authenticity of the phenomena 
studied by him. In an address delivered at a meeting of the 
British Association for the Advancement of Science, held 
at Bristol in 1898, and of which he was President, he ex- 
pressed himself as follows : 

No incident in my scientific career is more widely known 
than the part I took many years ago in certain psychic re- 
searches. Thirty years have passed since I published an 
account of experiments tending to show that outside our 

* Katie King, The Story of her Appearances. Paris, Leymarie, 1899. 
I thought I would not reproduce these photographs here, because they 
did not seem to me to have come from Mr. Crookes himself. Florence 
Cook died in London on the 2d of April, 1904. 


scientinc knowledge there exists a Force exercised by intelli- 
gence differing from the ordinary intelligence common to 
mortals. This fact in my life is, of course, well understood 
by those who honored me with the invitation to become your 
President Perhaps among my audience some may feel 
curious as to whether I shall speak out or be silent. I elect 
to speak, although briefly. 

To enter at length on a still debatable subject would bo 
to insist on a topic which, as Wallace, Lodge and Bar 
have already shown, though not unfitted for discussion at 
thann meetings, does not yet enlist the interest of the ma- 
jority of my scientific brethren. To ignore the subject would 
be an act of cowardice, an act of cowardice I feel no tempta- 
tion to commit 

To stop short in any research that bids fair to widen the. 
gates of knowledge, to recoil from fear of difficulty or ad- 
verse criticism, is to bring reproach on science. There is 
nothing for tin- investigator to do but to go straight on, " to 
explore up and down, inch by inch, with the taper, his rea- 
son;" to follow the lipht wherever it may lead, even should 
it at times resemble a will-o'-tbe wisp. 

I have nothing to retract I adhere to my already pub- 
lished statements. Indeed, I might add much thereto. I 
regret only a certain crudity in those early expositions, which, 
no doubt justly, militated against their acceptance by the 
scientific world. My own knowledge at that time scarcely 
extended beyond the fact that certain phenomena new to 
science had assuredly occurred, and were attested by my own 
Bober senses, and, better still, by automatic record. 

I was like some two-dimensional being who might stand 
at the singular point of a Riemann's surface, and thus find 
himself in infinitesimal and inexplicable contact with a plane 
of existence not his own. 

I think I see a little farther now. I have glimpses of 
something like coherence among the strange elusive phe- 
nomena; of something like continuity between those unex- 
plained forces and laws already known. This advance is 
largely due to the labors of another Association of which I 
have also this year the honor to be President the Soeietv 
for Psychical Research. And were I now introducing for 


the first time these inquiries to the world of science I should 
choose a starting point different from that of old. It would 
be well to begin with telepathy ; with the fundamental law, 
as I believe it to be, that thoughts and images may be trans- 
ferred from one mind to another without the agency of the 
recognized organs of sense, that knowledge may enter the 
human mind without being communicated in any hitherto 
known or recognized ways. 

Although the inquiry has elicited important facts with 
reference to the mind, it has not yet reached the scientific 
stage of certainty which would entitle it to be usefully 
brought before one of our sections. I will therefore con- 
fine myself to pointing out the direction in which scientific 
investigation can legitimately advance. 

If telepathy take place we have two physical facts the 
physical change in the brain of A, the suggester, and the 
analogous physical change in the brain of B, the recipient 
of the suggestion. Between these two physical events there 
must exist a train of physical causes. Whenever the con- 
necting sequence of intermediate causes begins to be revealed 
the inquiry will then come within the range of one of the 
sections of the British Association. Such a sequence can 
only occur through an intervening medium. All the phe- 
nomena of the universe are presumably in some way con- 
tinous, and it is unscientific to call in the aid of mysterious 
agencies when with every fresh advance in knowledge it is 
shown that ether vibrations have powers and attributes 
abundantly equal to any demand even to the transmission 
of thought. It is supposed by some physiologists that the 
essential cells of nerves do not actually touch, but are sep- 
arated by a narrow gap which widens in sleep while it nar- 
rows almost to extinction during mental activity. This con- 
dition is so singuarly like that of a Branly or Lodge coherer 
as to suggest a further analogy. 

The structure of brain and nerve being similar, it is con- 
ceivable there may be present masses of such nerve coherers 
in the brain whose special function it may be to receive im- 
pulses brought from without through the connecting sequence 
of ether waves of appropriate order of magnitude. Rontgen 
has familiarized us with an order of vibrations of extreme 


minuteness compared with the smallest waves with which 
we have hitherto been acquainted, and of dimensions com- 
parable with the distances between centers of the atoms of 
which the material universe is built up; and there is no 
reason to suppose that we have here reached the limit of 
frequency. It is known that the action of thought is ac- 
companied by certain molecular movements in the brain, 
and here we have physical vibrations capable from their ex- 
treme minuteness of acting directly on individual molecules, 
while their rapidity approaches that of the internal and 
ternal movements of the atoms themselves. 

Confirmation of telepathic phenomena is afforded by 
many converging experiments, and by many spontaneous 
occurrences only thus intelligible. The most varied proof, 
perhaps, is drawn from analysis of the sub-conscious work- 
ings of the mind, when these, whether by accident or de- 
sign, are brought into conscious survey. Evidence of a 
region below the threshold of consciousness has been pre- 
sented, since its first inception, in the "Proceedings of the 
Society for Psychical Research ;" and its various aspects are 
being interpreted and welded into a comprehensive whole by 
the pertinacious genius of F. W. H. Myers. 

A formidable range of phenomena must be scientifically 
sifted before we effectually grasp a faculty so strange, so be- 
wildering, and for ages so inscrutable, as the direct action 
of mind on mind. 

An eminent predecessor in this chair declared that " by 
an intellectual necessity be crossed the boundary of experi- 
iin ntal evidence, and discerned in that matter, which we, in 
our ignorance of its latent powers, and notwithstanding our 
professed reverence for its Creator, have hitherto covered 
with opprobrium, the potency and promise of all terrestrial 
life." I should prefer to reverse the apophthegm, and to 
say that in life I see the promise and potency of all forms 
of matter. 

In old Egyptian days a well-known inscription was carved 
over the portal of the temple of Isis : " I am whatever hath 
been, is, or ever will be; and my veil no man hath yet 
lifted." Not thus do modern seekers after truth confront 
Nature, the word that stands for the baffling mysteries of 


the Universe. Steadily, unflinchingly, we strive to pierce 
the inmost heart of Nature, from what she is to re-construct 
what she has been, and to prophesy what she yet shall be. 
Veil after veil we have lifted, and her face grows more 
beautiful, august, and wonderful, with every barrier that is 

It would be difficult to find truer thought better expressed. 
It is the language of true science, and is also the expression 
of the highest philosophy. 



Abundant testimony at to the existence of a hitherto little 
explored psychic realm has doubt lew been given in the pre- 
ceding page*. Medinmistio phenomena proclaim tin 
iatenoe of unknown force*. It is almost superfluous to heap 
up in this place a still greater number of recorded instance*. 

However, these facts are so extraordinary, so in<-.>mpre- 
heneible, so hard to believe, that a mere increase in the num- 
ber of ease* is Ml without value, especially when they are 
furnished by men of incontestable skill and Irani ing. The. 
old law proverb Trtti* unuj, tedis nullu* (" One witness if 
no witneaa") is applicable here. We must not verify once, 
we must verify a hundred times, such apparently ncntin'c 
extra vagancea, in order to make sure they are not delusions, 
but sober facto. 

In abort, the whole subject is so curious, so strange that 
the investigator of these mysteries is never surfeited. 

Hence, in addition to what has already been given, I shall 
elect and present in this place, out of the immense collec- 
tion of obeervationa which I have for a long time been 
making, those which most strike the attention and give added 
confirmation to what has preceded. 

In addition to the experiment* of Crooke*, it i fitting to 
add in this place those of the great English naturalist, Alfred 
Russet Wallace, also a member of the Royal Society of Lon- 
don, President of the English Anthropological Society, and 
well known as the scientist, who at the same time with Dar- 


win (June, 1858), gave to the world the theory of the 
variation of species by natural selection. 

He himself gives the following account* of his studies in 
this matter of the mysterious pyschic force : 

It was in the summer of 18 65 that I first witnessed any 
of the phenomena of what is called Spiritualism, in the 
house of a friend, a sceptic, a man of science, and a law- 
yer, with none but members of his own family present. 
Sitting at a good-sized round table, with our hands placed 
upon it, after a short time slight movements would com- 
mence not often " turnings " or " tiltings " but a gentle 
intermittent movement, like steps, which after a time would 
bring the table quite across the room. Slight but distinct 
tapping sounds were also heard. The following notes made 
at the time were intended to describe exactly what took 
place : 

" July 22nd, 1865. Sat with my friend, his wife, and 
two daughters at a large loo table, by daylight. In about 
half an hour some faint motions were perceived, and some 
faint taps heard. They gradually increased; the taps be- 
came very distinct, and the table moved considerably, obliging 
us all to shift our chairs. Then a curious vibratory motion of 
the table commenced, almost like the shivering of a living 
animal. I could feel it up to my elbows. These phenomena 
were variously repeated for two hours. On trying after- 
wards, we found the table could not be voluntarily moved 
in the same manner without a great exertion of force, and 
we could discover no possible way of producing the taps 
while our hands were upon the table." 

On other occasions we tried the experiment of each person 
in succession leaving the table, and found that the phenomena 
continued the same as before, both taps and the table move- 
ment. Once I requested one after another to leave the 
table. The phenomena continued, but, as the number of 
sitters diminished, with decreasing vigor, and, just after the 
last person had drawn back, leaving me alone at the table, 

* On Miracles and Modern Spiritualism, London, 1875, French trans- 
lation, Paris, 1889 (the English word spiritualism is always used here 
in the sense of spiritism). 


there were two dull taps or blows, as with a fist on the 
pillar or foot of the table, the vibration of which I could 
feel as well as hear. 

Some time before these observations I had mot a gentle- 
man who had told me of most wonderful phenomena oc- 
curring in his own family, among them the palpable motion 
of solid bodies when no person was touching them or near 
them; and he had recommended im> to go to a public 
medium in London (Mrs. Marshall), where I might see 
things equally wonderful. Accordingly, in September, 1865, 
I began a series of visits to Mrs. Marshall, generally ac- 
companied by a friend, a good chemist and mechanic, and 
of a throroughly sceptical mind. 

1. A small table, on which the hands of four persona 
were placed (including my own and Mrs. Marshall's), rose 
up vertically about a foot from the floor, and remained 
suspended for about twenty seconds, while my friend, who 
was sitting looking on, could see the lower part of the table 
with the feet freely suspended above the floor. 

2. While sitting at a large table, with Miss T. on my left 
and Mr. R. on my right, a guitar which had been played 
in Miss T's hand slid down onto the floor, passed over my 
feet, and eame t<> Mr. IL, against whose legs it raised itself 
up till it appeared above the table. I and Mr. R. were 
watching it carefully the whole time, and it behaved as if 
alive itself, or rather as if a small invisible child were by 
great exertions moving it and raising it up. These two 
phenomena were witnessed in bright gaslight. 

8. A chair, on which a relation of Mr. R.'a sat, was lifted 
up with her on it. Afterwards, when she returned to the 
table from the piano, where she had been playing, her chair 
moved away just as she was going to sit down. On drawing 
it up, it moved away again. After this had happened three 
times, it became apparently fixed to the floor, so that she 
could not raise it. Mr. R. then took hold of it, and found 
that it was only by a great exertion he could lift it off the 
floor. This sitting took place in broad daylight, on a bright 
day, and in a room on the first floor with two windows. 

However strange and unreal these few phenomena may 
seem to readers who have seen nothing of the kind, I poai- 


tively affirm that they are facts which really happened just 
as I have narrated them, and that there was no room for 
any possible trick or deception. In each case, before we 
began, we turned up the tables and chairs, and saw that they 
were ordinary pieces of furniture, and that there was no 
connection between them and the flooor, and we placed 
them where we pleased before we sat down. Several of 
the phenomena occurred entirely under our own hands, and 
quite disconnected from the " medium." They were as 
much realities as the motion of nails towards a magnet, and, 
it may be added, not in themselves more improbable or more 

The mental phenomena which most frequently occur are 
the spelling out of the names of relatives of persons present^ 
their ages, or any other particulars about them. They are 
especially uncertain in their manifestation, though when 
they do succeed they are very conclusive to the persons who 
witness them. The general opinion of sceptics as to thest 
phenomena is, that they depend simply on the acuteness and 
talent of the medium in hitting on the letters which form 
the name, by the manner in which persons dwell upon or 
hurry over them, the ordinary mode of receiving these 
communications being for the person interested to go over 
a printed alphabet, letter by letter, loud taps indicating the 
letters which form the required names. I am going to 
choose some of our experiments which show how impossible 
it is to accept this explanation. 

When I first received a communication myself I was 
particularly careful to avoid giving any indication, by going 
with steady regularity over the letters; yet there was spelt 
out correctly, first, the place where my brother died, Para; 
then his Christian name, Herbert; and lastly, at my re- 
quest, the name of the mutual friend who last saw him, 
Henry Walter Bates. On this occasion our party of six 
visited Mrs. Marshall for the first time, and my name as 
well as those of the rest of the party, except one, were un- 
known to her. That one was my married sister, whose 
name was no clue to mine. 

On the same occasion a young lady, a connection of Mr. 
R/9 was told that a communication was to be made to her. 


She took the alphabet, and instead of pointing to the letters 
one by one, she moved the pencil smoothly over the lin> - 
with the greatest steadiness. I watched her, and wrote 
down the letters which the taps indicated. The name pro- 
duced was an extraordinary one, the letters being Thomas 
Doe Thacker. I thought there must be an error in the latter 
part; but the names were Thomas Doe Thacker, the hul\'- 
f at her, every letter being correct A number of other nm 
places, and dates WOTS spelt out on this occasion with equal 
accuracy; but I give only these two, because in these 1 um 
sure no clue was given by which the names could have been 
guessed by the most preternaturally acute intellect 

On another occasion, I accompanied my sister and a lady 
who had never been there before to Mrs. Marshall's, and we 
had a very curious illustration of the absurdity of imputing 
the spelling of names to the receiver's hesitation and the 
medium's acutenees. She wished the name of a particular 
deceased relative to be spelled out to her, and pointed to the 
letters of the alphabet in the usual way, while I wrote 
down those indicated. The first three letters were y r n. 
"Oh!" said she, "that's nonsense; we had better l>< 
again." Just then an o came, and, thinking I saw what it 
was, I said, " Please go on, I understand it." The whole 
was then spelt out thus: yrnehkcocffej. The lady < 
then did not see it, till I separated it thus: yrnch kcocffrj, 
or Henry Jeffcock, the name of the relative she ha-l 
wanted, accurately spelt backwards. 

Another phenomenon, necessitating the exertion both of 
force and intellect, is the following: The table having been 
previously examined, a sheet of note paper was marked 
privately by me, and placed with a lead-pencil under the 
centre foot of the table, all present having their hands 
upon the table. After a few minutes, taps are heard, and, 
on taking up the paper, I find written on it, in a free hand, 
" William." On another occasion, a friend from the coun- 
try a total stranger to the medium, and whose name was 
never mentioned accompanied me ; and, after receiving 
what purported to be a communication from his son, a paper 
was put under the table, and in a few minutes there was 
found written on it " Charley T. Dodd." the correct name. 


In these cases it is certain there was no machinery under 
the table ; and it simply remains to ask if it were possible for 
Mrs. Marshall to slip off her boots, seize the pencil and 
paper with her toes, and write on it a name she had to 
guess at, and again put on her boots without removing her 
hands from the table, or giving any indication whatever of 
her exertions. 

It was in November, 1866, that my sister discovered that 
a lady living with her had the power of inducing loud and 
distinct taps and other curious phenomena ; and I now began 
a series of observations in my own house, the most important 
of which I shall briefly narrate. 

When we sat at a large loo table without a cloth, with 
all our hands upon it, the taps would generally commence in 
a few minutes. They sound as if made on the under side 
of the leaf of the table, in various parts of it. They change 
in tone and loudness, from a sound like that produced by 
tapping with a needle or a long finger-nail, to others like 
blows with a fist or slaps with the fingers of a hand. Sounds 
are produced also like scraping with a finger-nail, or like 
the rubbing of a damp finger pressed very hard on the table. 
The rapidity with which these sounds are produced and are 
changed is very remarkable. They will imitate, more or 
less exactly, sounds which we make with our fingers above 
the table ; they will keep good time to a tune whistled by one 
of the party; they will sometimes, at request, play a very 
fair tune themselves, or will follow accurately a hand tap- 
ping a tune upon the table. 

Of course, the first impression is that some one's foot is 
lifting up the table. To answer this objection, I prepared 
the table before our second trial without telling any one, 
by stretching some thin tissue paper between the feet an 
inch or two from the bottom of the pillar, in such a manner 
that any attempt to insert the foot must crush or tear the 
paper. The table rose up as before, resisted pressure down- 
wards, as if it was resting on the back of some animal, sunk 
to the floor, and in a short time rose again, and then dropped 

f suddenly down. I now with some anxiety turned up the 
table, and, to the surprise of all present, showed them the 
delicate tissue stretched across altogether uninjured ! Find- 


ing that this test was troublesome, as the paper or tin 
had to be renewed every time, and were liable to br l.r 
accidentally before the experiment began, I construct. -! a 
cylinder of hoops and laths, covered with canvas. The table 
was placed within this as in a well, and, as it was about 
eighteen inches high, it kept the feet and dresses of the ladies 
away from the table. The latter rose without the least diiti- 
culty, the hands of all the group being held above it 

A small centre-table suddenly moved up of its own accord 
to the table by the side of the medium, us if it had gradually 
got within the sphere of a strong attractive force. <A 
wards, at our request, it was thrown down on the floor with- 
out any person touching it, and it then moved about in a 
strange life-like manner, as if seeking some means of getting 
up again, turning its claws first on one side and then on 
the other. On another occasion, a very large leather arm- 
chair which stood at least four or five feet from the medium, 
suddenly wheeled up to her, after a few slight preliminary 
movements. It is, of course, easy to say that what I relate 
is impossible. I maintain that it is accurately true; 
that no man, whatever be his attainments, has such u; 
haustive knowledge of the powers of nature as to justify him 
in using the word " impossible " with regard to facts which 
I and many others have repeatedly witnessed, 

We evidently have here facts similar to those which I ob- 
served in my experiments with Eusapia and with other me- 

Alfred Russel Wallace continues his account by the cita- 
tion of cases analogous to those which have been described 
in this work; then sums up the experiments of Crookes, of 
Varley, Morgan, and other English scientists; does me the 
honor of citing my letter to the Dialectical Society which I 
have printed above; paasea in review the history of Spirit- 
ualism, and declares that (\) the facts are incontestable, and 
that (2), in his opinion, the best explanatory hypothesis is 
that of spirits, or the souls of the disembodied the theory 
of " the unconscious " being evidently inadequate. 


Such is also the opinion of the electrician Cromwell Var- 
ley. Neither he nor Wallace believes that there is anything 
supernatural in the phenomena. Discarnate spirits are in 
nature, as well as the incarnate. " The triviality of the 
communications ought not to astonish us, if we consider the 
myriads of trivial and fantastic human beings who every 
day become ghosts and are the same beings the day after 
their death that they were the day before." 

Professor Morgan, the brilliant author of the Budget of 
Paradoxes (an excellent piece of work, and highly compli- 
mented by the London Athenaeum , in 1865), expresses the 
same opinion in his work on Mind (1863). Not only does 
he think that the facts are incontestable, but he also believes 
that the hypothesis that explains the facts by intelligences 
exterior to ourselves is the only satisfying one. He relates, 
among other things, that, in one of the seances attended by 
him, a friend of his (a very sceptical person), was making 
a little fun of the spirits, whereupon, while they were all 
standing (a dozen experimenters of them) around the dining 
room table, and forming the chain above it, without contact, 
the heavy table began to move of its own accord, and, drag- 
ging along the whole group, made a rush at the sceptic, and 
pinned him against the back of the sofa, until he cried 
"Hold! enough!" 

Still, does that constitute proof of an independent spirit? 
Was it not an expression of the collective thought of the 
company ? And, likewise, in the experience which Wallace 
has just cited, were not the dictated names latent in the brain 
of the questioner? And was not the little centre-table, in 
its climbings acting under the physical and pyschical in- 
fluences of the medium ? 

Whatever may be the explanatory hypothesis, the FACTS 
are undeniable. 

We have here, before all, a group of substantial English 


scientists of the first rank, in whose opinion the denial of the 
phenomena is a sort of madness. 

French scientists are a little more belated than their neigh- 
bors. Nevertheless, I have already called attention to some 
of them during the course of this work. I should have taken 
pleasure in adding the names of the lamented Pierre Curie 
and of Professor d* Arsonval, if they had published the ex- 
periments they made with Eusapia during July, 1905, and 
March and April, 190C, at the General Institute of Psy- 

Among the most judicious of experimenters in psychical 
phenomena I ought also to mention M. J. Maxwell, a doctor 
of medicine and (a very different function) advocate-general 
at the Court of Appeals in Bordeaux. 

The reader may have already noticed (p. 173) the part 
which this investigator, at once a magistrate and a -dentist, 
took in the experiments made at 1' Agnelas in 1895. Eusapia 
is not the only medium with whom he studied, and his ac- 
quaintance with our subject is supported by the best of docu- 
mentary evidence. 

It is fitting that I present to the reader at this point the 
most characteristic facts and the essential conclusions set 
forth in his work.* 

The author has made a special examinations of raps. 

Raps (coups frappes). The contact of hands is not 
necessary to obtain raps. With certain mediums I have 
very readily obtained them without contact. 

When one has succeeded in obtaining raps with contact, 
one of the surest means of continuing to thus obtain them, 
is to keep the hands resting on the table for a certain time, 
then to lift them very slowly, keeping the palms turned 
downward toward the table, the fingers loosely opened, but 
not held stiffly. It rarely happens under such circum- 

Lf Phtnomttifa ptychiques. One vol. 8vo. Paris, 1903. 

stances, that the raps do not continue to make themselves 
heard, at least for some time. I need not add that the ex- 
perimenters should not only avoid touching the table with 
their hands, but even with any other part of their bodies, 
or their clothes. The contact of garments with the table 
may be sufficient to produce raps which have in them nothing 
supernormal. It is necessary therefore to exercise great 
care that the dresses of ladies do not come in contact 
with the legs of the table. When the necessary precautions 
are used, the raps sound in a very convincing way. 

In the case of certain mediums, the energy set free is 
powerful enough to act at a distance. I once happened to 
hear raps upon a table which was almost six feet from the 
medium. We had had a very short sitting and had left 
the table. I was reclining in an easy-chair; the medium, 
standing, was conversing with me, when a series of raps 
was made upon the table which we had just left. It was 
broad daylight in midsummer, about five o'clock in the 
evening. The raps were forcible and lasted for several 

I have often observed facts of this kind. I happened 
once, while travelling, to meet an interesting medium. 
He did not allow me to use his name, but I may say that 
he is an honorable man, well informed, occupying an official 
position. I obtained with him lively raps in restaurants 
and in railway lunch counters. He did not suspect that he 
possessed this latent faculty before he had experimented 
with me. To have observed the raps produced under these 
conditions would have been sufficient to convince anyone of 
their authenticity. The unusual noise made by these raps 
attracted the attention of -persons present and gave us much 
annoyance. The result surpassed our expectations. It is to 
be noted that the more we were confused with the noise made 
by our raps, the more frequent they became. One would 
have said that some waggish creature was producing them 
and amusing himself with our embarrassment. 
I also obtained fine raps upon the floors of museums be- 
fore the pictures of the old masters. The most common are 
those made, with contact, upon the table or upon the floor; 


next, those made at a distance upon various articles of furni- 

More rarely, I have heard them on the garments of the 
sitters or of the medium, or upon the coverings of pieces of 
furniture. I have heard them on sheets of paper laid on the 
experiment-table, in books, in walla, in tamboturinee, in small 
wooden objects, especially in a planchette used for automatic 
writing. I noticed very curious raps in the case of a 
writing-medium. When she had automatic writing, the 
were produced with extreme rapidity at the end of her 
pencil ; but, the pencil itself did not tap the table. Several 
times and very carefully I put my hand on the end of the 
pencil opposite the point, without the latter leaving for a 
single moment the paper on the table: the raps sounded in 
the wood, not on the paper. In this case, of course, the 
medium held the pencil. 

The raps occur even when I place my finger on the upper 
end of the pencil and when I press its point against the 
paper. You feel the pencil vibrating, but it is not displan <!. 
Inasmuch as these rape are very resonant, I calculated that it 
would be necessary to give a pretty strong Mow in order 
to produce them artificially. The necessary movement re- 
quires a lifting of the point from two to five millimeters, ac- 
cording to the intensity of the raps. Now the point does 
not seem to be displaced. Furthermore, when the writing 
is going on, these raps take place with great rapidity, and 
the examination of the writing does not show any place 
\\here a stop occurred. The text is continuous, no trace of 
tapping is perceptible in it, no thickening of the strokes can 
be perceived. Observations made under such conditions 
seem to me to exclude the possibility of fraud. 

I have observed that these raps occur, without apparent 
cause, as far as nine feet from the medium. They man! 
themselves as the expression of an activity and of a will 
distinct from those of the observers. Such is the appearance 
of the phenomenon. A curious fact results from all this, 
that not only do the raps occur as the product of an in- 
telligent action, but they also usually agree to perform as 
often as asked, and to produce definite rhythms, for example, 


certain airs. In like manner they imitate the raps made by 
the experimenters, upon demand of the latter. 

The different raps frequently respond to each other, and 
it is one of the prettiest experiments in which one can take 
part to hear these blows, now slight and muffled, now sharp 
and abrupt, or again soft and gentle, sounding simul- 
taneously upon the table, the floor, and the frame- work and, 
coverings of the furniture. 

I had the good fortune to be able to study these curious 
rappings at close range, and I believe I have reached certain 
conclusions. The first, and the best attested, is that the 
raps are closely connected with the muscular movements of 
the sitters. I will sum up my observations on this point as 
follows : 

1. Every muscular movement, even a feeble one, is gen- 
erally followed by a rap. 

2. The intensity of the raps did not seem to me to be pro- 
portional to the muscular movement made. 

3. The intensity of the raps did not seem to me to vary 
in proportion to their distance from the medium. 

The following are the facts upon which my conclusions 

I frequently observed that when we had raps that were 
feeble and occurred only at intervals, an excellent means of 
producing them was to form the chain upon the table, the 
hands resting upon it, and the observers putting their fingers 
in light contact. One of them, without breaking the chain 
(a feat he accomplished by holding in the same hand the 
right hand of his neighbor on the left and the left hand of 
his neighbor on the right) moved his released hand in circu- 
lar sweeps or passes over the table, at the level of the circle 
formed by the opened hands of the observers. After hav- 
ing made this movement four or five times, always in the 
same direction, that is to say, after having thus traced 
four or five circles over the table, the experimenter brought 
his hand over toward the centre at a variable height and 
moved it down towards the table. Then he abruptly ar- 
rested this movement at a distance of seven or eight inches 
from the top. The abrupt stoppage of his hand was tallied 
by a rap in the wood. It is an exceptional case when this 


process does not yield taps, that is to say, when there is a 
medium in the circle capable, even feebly, of producing 

The same experiment can be made without touching the 
table, but forming around it a kind of closed chain. One 
of the operators then acts as in the preceding case. 

I. have no need to recall to the minds of my readers that 
with certain mediums, raps are produced without any move- 
ment being made. Almost all mediums can obtain them 
in this way by keeping perfectly quiet and having patience. 
But one would say that the execution of the movement acts 
as a determining cause. It seems as if the accumulated 
energy received a kind of stimulus. 

Leviiationa. One day we improvised an experiment in 
the afternoon, and I remember that I observed a very in- 
teresting levitation made under these circumstances. It was 
about five o'clock in the evening (at any rate it was broad 
daylight), in the salon at 1'Agnelas. We took our places 
about the table, standing. Eusapia took the hand of one of 
us and placed it on the corner of the table, at her right. The 
table thcreuixm rose up to the height of our foreheads; that 
is to say, the top of the table rose at least as high as five 
feet above the floor. 

Such experiments were very convincing, for it was im- 
possible for Eusapia, the circumstances being such as they 
were, to lift the table by a normal act. It is enough to sup- 
pose that she merely touched the corner of the table, to find 
out how heavy a weight she would have had to lift if she 
had made a muscular movement. Besides, she had not a 
sufficient grip on the table to lift it. Evidently, the condi- 
tions of the experiment being such, she could not make use 
of one of the fraudulent processes mentioned by her critics, 
such as straps or hooks of any kind. The phenomenon is 
undeniably authentic. 

The breathing seems to have a very great influence. In 
the way things take place, it seems as if the sitters released, 
by breathing, an amount of motor energy comparable to that 
which they release when rapidly moving their limbs. There 
is something in this very curious and difficult to explain. 

The more complete analysis of the facts allows us to think 


that the liberation of the energy employed depends upon the 
contraction of the muscles and not upon the movement made. 
The thing which reveals this peculiarity is easy to observe. 
When we are forming the chain about the table, we can set 
up a movement without contact by mutually pressing our 
hands together with a certain force, or by pressing the feet 
hard upon the floor. The first of these means is much the 
better of the two. The arms have only made an insignificant 
movement, and one can say that the muscular contraction is 
almost the only physiological phenomenon observable. Yet 
it suffices. 

All these authenticated experiments tend to show that the 
agent which determines movements without contact has some 
connection with our organism, and probably with our nervous 

Conditions of the Experiments. We must never lose out 
of our sight the relative importance of the moral and intel- 
lectual status of the group of experimenters. That is one 
of the most difficult things to seize and comprehend. But 
when the force is abundant, the simple manifestation of the 
will is sometimes able to determine the movement. For ex- 
ample, upon a desire to that affect being expressed by the 
sitters, the table moves in the way it is requested to do. 
The phenomena occur as if this force were guided by an 
Intelligence distinct from that of the experimenters. I 
hasten to say that I regard that only as a probability, and 
that I think I have observed a certain resemblance between 
these personifications and the secondary personalities of 

In this apparent bond between the indirect will of the sit- 
ters and the phenomena there is a problem the solution of 
which has so far completely escaped me. I suspect that this 
bond has nothing supernatural about it and I realize that 
the Spiritualistic hypothesis is a poorer explanation and in- 
adequate to meet the facts ; but I cannot formulate any satis- 
factory explanation. 

Close observations of the relations existing between the 
phenomena and the will of the sitters brings out other dis- 
coveries also. I mean, in the first place, the bad affect which 
disagreement among the experimenters produces. It some- 


time* happens that one of them expresses the desire to per- 
ceive a certain phenomenon. If the thing is slow in taking 
place, the same experimenter, or another one, will ask for a 
different spectacle. Sometimes different sitters will ask for 
several contradictory things at the same time. The con- 
fusion which reigns in the collective thought manifesto itself 
in the phenomena, which themselves become confused and 

However, things do not happen absolutely as if the 
phenomena were directed by a will which is only the shadow 
or the reflex of that of the sitters. It sometimes happens 
that they show great independence, and flatly refuse to yield 
to the desires expressed. 

Forms and Phantom*. At Bordeaux, in 1897, the room 
where we held our sittings was lighted by a very large 
window. The outside Venetian blinds of this window were 
closed; but when the gas was lighted in a little building 
which formed an adjunct to the kitehen, in the corner of 
the court near the garden, a feeblo light penetrated the room 
and dimly illuminated the window panes. The window 
itself formed in this way a bright background upon wln.-h 
certain dark forms were perceived by a part of the 
perimentrra, We all saw these forms, or rather this form, 
for it was always the same one that appeared, a long 
bearded profile, with a very high arched nose. This ap- 
parition said it was bead of John, a personification who al- 
ways appears with Eusapia.f This is a very extraordinary 
phenomenon. The first idea which presents itself to the 
mind is that this is a case of collective hallucination. But 
the care with which we observed this curious phenomenon 
and, it seems needless for me to add, the calmness with which 
we experimented renders this hypothesis very unlikely. 

The supposition of fraud is still less admissible. The 
head, which we saw was of life size, measuring say sixteen 
inches from the forehead to the end of the beard. It is im- 
possible to understand how Eusapia could have hidden in her 

A* I Mid on a prerlou* page, psychic force* have as much reality 
phvuiml and mechanical oa*a. 

tThit is the taint thing thai I obeenred at Moofort 1'Amaury. Sea 
p. 73. 


pockets or under her clothes any kind of a cardboard pro- 
file. Xor can one understand any better how, unknown to 
us, she could have taken out this paper figure, mounted it 
upon a stick, or upon a wire, and so operated with it. 
Eusapia had not gone into a trance: she herself sometimes 
saw the profile which appeared, and, thoroughly awake and 
conscious, took pleasure in assisting in the phenomena which 
she was producing. The feeble light which the illumined 
window shed was sufficient to enable us to see her hands being 
carefully held by the controllers on the right and on the left. 
It would have been impossible for her to manipulate these 
objects. In fact, however, the profile observed seemed to 
form at the top of the cabinet, at the height of about three 
and a half feet above Eusapia's head. It descended rather 
slowly and so took its place above and in front of her. 
Then at the end of some seconds it disappeared, only to re- 
appear some time afterwards in the same circumstances. 
Every time, we carefully assured ourselves of the relative 
immobility of the hand and arms of the medium. Hence I 
regard the prodigy which I am relating as one of the most 
certain I ever verified, so incompatible was the hypothesis 
of fraud with the conditions under which we observed. 

I am persuaded that these facts will one day (soon per- 
haps) receive the stamp of scientific approval as subjects 
of study. They will do this in spite of the obstacles which 
obstinate infatuation and the fear of ridicule pile in the 

The intolerance of certain beings matches that of certain 
dogmas. Catholicism, for example, considers psychic phe- 
nomena as the work of the Devil. Is it worth while at the 
present time to combat such a theory? I do not think 
it is. 

But this question is foreign to the psychic facts them- 
selves. So far as my experience permits me to judge, these 
phenomena are entirely natural. The Devil does not show 
His claws in them. If the tables should announce that they 
were Satan himself, there would be nothing on the face of 
things which would lead ua to believe they were speaking 
the truth. If called on to prove his power, this gran- 
diloquent Satan would turn out, I fear, to be a sorry 


thaumaturgist. The religious prejudice which proscribes 
these experiments as supernatural is as little justified as the 
scientific prejudice which only sees in them fraud and im- 
posture. Here again the old adage of Aristotle finds its ap- 
plication: Equity lies between the two extremes of opinion. 

It is evident that these experiments of Dr. Maxwell are 
in accord with all the preceding ones. The results ascer- 
tained mutually confirm each other. 

Apropos of mediums who produce physical or material 
effects, I should also like to mention here the one who was 
very specially examined at Paris, in 1902, by a group of men 
composed in large part of former pupils of the Polyteclm it- 
School. They held a dozen seanr,- in .lulv ami Ani:u>t. 
This group was composed of MM. A. de Rochas, Tatn. 
Lemerle, Bade, de Fontenay, and Duri. \. Tin- medium 
was Angus to Politi, of Rome. He was forty-seven years 

Several very remarkable table-levitations were observ.,! 
and photographed by these gentlemen during their sittings. 
I reproduce here (PI. XIII) one of these photograph 
by M. de Fontenay which he kindly allows me to u-e. It, 
is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful that has been ob- 
tained, and one of the most striking. All the hands that 
form the chain are carefully held away from the table. It 
seems to me that not to recognize the value of this photograph 
as a record would be to deny the evidence itself. It was 
taken instantaneously by a flash of magnesium light. The 
eyes of the medium had been bandaged, that the light might 
not give him a nervous shock. 

This same medium was studied at Rome, in February, 
1904, by a group composed of Professor Milesi, of the Uni- 
versity of Rome, M. Joseph Squanquarillo, Mr. and Mrs. 
Franklin Simmons (American travellers passing through 
Rome), and M. and Mme. Cartoni. 





They declare that they heard scales very well executed 
upon the piano (which was an upright one), at quite a dis- 
tance from the sitters; yet none of the sitters knew how to 
play on the piano, while Professor Milesi's deceased sister, 
who was called upon to manifest herself, was a very good 

Another musical phenomenon was produced : A mandolin 
placed on the lid of the piano, began of its own accord to 
play, balancing itself in the air until it went and fell down 
(playing all the while) between the hands of the experimen- 
ters who formed the chain. 

Later, at intervals, the piano was lifted in its turn, falling 
back noisily. It must be remarked that two men scarcely 
sufficed to lift this piano, even by one of its sides. After 
the sitting, it was ascertained that the instrument had been 
displaced about a foot and a half. 

But here follows a resume of the phenomena observed with 
this medium. 

In every seance, very vigorous raps were obtained in the 
table around which were grouped the experimenters and the 
medium (they together forming the chain), while the lamp 
with red light was on the table itself. " If we wished to 
produce raps so sharp and strong (says M. C. Caccia, the 
reporter of these seances), we had to rap with all our might 
on the table with some solid object, while the kind of raps 
which were produced in the seances with Politi seemed to 
issue from the interior of the table with loud sounds like 

But now the table begins to be shaken. The white curtain 
of the cabinet which was behind the medium, at a distance of 
twenty inches, swelled out and floated in every direction, as 
if a violent wind had inflated it from the other side. We 
heard a chair moving with a gliding motion over the floor. 
It had been placed there before the beginning of the sitting 
and was now thrown violently over. During the course of 
the fifth sitting it came clear out of the cabinet, in the 


presence of everybody, and did not stop until it got near t In- 

Tin -so phenomena took place by the red light of a photo- 
graphic lamp. In the complete darkness which attended tin- 
third seance an extraordinary thing occurred, so nuu-h tin- 
more extraordinary because \ve had taken special measures to 
forestall any attempt at fraud. The medium was held 1>\ 
two sitters who, being very sceptical, had taken tlu-ir places 
on his right and on his left, and were holding his hands 
and his feet 

At a certain moment the medium ordered the operators to 
lift their hands from the table and not to hinder its move- 
ments; above all, not to break the chain. Whereupon a 
great uproar was heard in the cabinet The medium calls 
for light, and, to the great ama/< nn -nt of all of us, we dis- 
cover that the table, which was rectangular in form and did 
not weigh less than thirty-nine pounds, was found turned up- 
side down upon the floor of the cabinet. The controllers 
declared that the medium had not stirred. It is to be re- 
marked : 

1. That the table must have been lifted high enough to 
pass over the heads of the sitters. 

2. That it must have passed above the group forming the 

3. That as the opening in the curtains of the cabinet only 
measured thirty-seven inches across, and the table, on its 
shortest side, thirty inches, there only remained free seven 
indies for passing through this opening. 

4. That the table must have come forward endwiso, then 
ninved armim! lengthwise (it was three feet long), and 
turned upside down, resting on the floor; that the whole of 
thi* difficult mamEUvre was executed in a few seconds in 
complete darkness and without any of the sitters having 
touched the table in the slightest degree.* 

' The Italian journals reproduced a picturesque photograph of the 
table lifted nlinost to the height of the ceiling, at the moment it had 
passed over the heads of the sitters and was turning over (see A. de 
Rochaa, Krtfriorisation de la motricitt, 4th ed.). I do not reproduce it, 
because it does not seem to me to be authentic. Benides, the observer* 
declared that they did not verify this phenomenon until after its pro- 


Luminous phenomena were also obtained. Lights ap- 
peared and disappeared in the air. Some of them gave the 
outline of a curve. They did not show any radiation. In 
the fifth seance, everybody was able to testify to the ap- 
pearance of two luminous crosses, about four inches in 

At the last seance, the tambourine fringed with bells, 
which had been rubbed with phosphorous, went circling 
around the whole room, and in such a way that all its move- 
ments could be followed. 

During almost all the sittings, mysterious touchings were 
noticed, among others, those produced by an enormous 
hairy hand! 

In the first, fourth and fifth seances there were " ma- 
terializations. Prof. Italo Palmarini believed that he rec- 
ognized his daughter, who had been dead three years. He 
felt himself embraced ; everybody heard the sound of a kiss. 
The same manifestation took place in the fifth seance. Pro- 
fessor Palmarini believed that he still recognized the per- 
son of his daughter. 

At the opening of each seance the medium was searched, 
and was then placed in a kind of big sack, made to order for 
this purpose, and fastened at the neck, the wrists, and the 

Another medium, the Russian Sambor, was the object of 
numerous experiments at St. Petersburg during a period of 
six years. (1897-1902.) It will be interesting also to 
give a summing up in this place of the report about this 
man published by M. Petrovo Solovovo.* 

In the first seances a large folding screen placed behind 
the medium was observed to be vigorously shaken. The 
medium's feet and hands were carefully held. A table in a 
neighboring chamber moved of its own accord. In a metal 
cone placed on the table, enclosing a bit of paper and a 
lead-pencil, and then riveted up, there was found, when it 
was unriveted, a ribbon, and a phrase written on the paper 

* Annales des Sciences psychique, 1902. 


in script that bad to be read in a looking-glass (ccriture en 
miroir). Other cases of the passage of matter through 
matter were tried, none of which succeeded. But further 
on the reports relate the following experiments : 

In the mouth of February, 1901, one of Sambor's seances 
took place at my house, in my study, against the windows of 
which 1 had hung curtains of black calico in such a way that 
the room was plunged in the deepest darkness. The medium 
occupied a place in the chain. Next to the medium were 
M. .1. I.omatzAch, on his right, myself on his left. Sambor's 
hands and feet were faithfully held the whole time in a 
way that gave perfect satisfaction. 

The phenomena soon began to develop. I do not intend 
to take the time here to describe them, but I wish to men- 
tion a remarkable case of the passage of matter through 

M. Lomatzsch, controller on the right, declares that some- 
one is pulling his chair from under him. So, redoubling 
our attention, we continue to hold the medium. M. 
matzsch's chair is soon positively lifted up, so that he is 
obliged to stand. Sometime after, he declares that some- 
one is trying to hang the chair on the hand with which he 
is holding Sambor. Then the chair suddenly disappear-; 
from the arm of M. Lomatzsch, and at the same moment 1 
feel a light pressure upon my left arm (I do not mean the 
one which was in contact with the medium, but with my 
neighbor on the left (M. A. Weber) ; after which I feel that 
something heavy is hanging from my arm. When thn candle 
was liizhieil, we all saw that my left arm had been passed 
through the back of tin- rlmir. In this way the chair was 
nicely balanced upon that one of my arms which was not in 
contact with Sambor, but with my neighbor on the left. I 
had not let go of the hands of my neighbors. 

Such an observation as this needs no commentary (says 
the reporter of this occurrence, M. Petrovo Solovovo). The 
fact is simply incomprehensible. I give here some other 
phenomena which were observed in May, 1902: 


1. A cedar apple, an old copper coin which was found to 
be a Persian coin of 1723, and an amateur photographic 
portrait of a young woman in mourning unknown to any- 
body present were found (coming from nobody knew where, 
nor in what way), upon the table about which we were 

2. Several different objects in the room were transported 
to the table by the mysterious force ; such, for example, as a 
thermometer, which had been hung on the wall behind the 
piano at a distance of from one-half to seven feet from the 
medium; a large lantern placed upon the piano somewhere 
between two and four feet behind the medium ; several piles 
of music-books which had rested on the same piano; a 
framed portrait; and, finally, the candlesconce, the candle, 
and the different parts of a candlestick belonging to the 

3. Several times a bronze bell placed on the table was 
lifted into the air by the mysterious force and noisily rung. 
On the request of the sitters it was once carried over to the 
piano (against which it struck a sounding blow), and from 
there again over to the table. 

4. Unoccupied chairs had been placed behind the medium. 
One of them was several times lifted and placed noisily on 
the table in the midst of the sitters, and without having run 
against any of them. When upon the table, this chair several 
times moved about, fell over, and picked itself up. 

5. One of these same chairs was found to be hung by the 
back upon the joined hands of the medium and M. de Pog- 
genpohl. Before the beginning of that part of the seance 
which witnessed this phenomenon, a strip of cloth, slipped 
over the sleeves of the medium, had been several times 
tightly twisted around the wrists of M. de Poggenpohl. 

6. At the request of the sitters, the mysterious force 
several times stopped the playing of the music-box (it stood 
on the table around which we were seated), after which it 
began to play again. 

7. A sheet of paper and a lead pencil, placed on the table, 
were thrown on the floor, and everybody distinctly heard 
the pencil moving over the paper with a heavy pressure and, 
with a sharp tap, putting a period at the end of what had 


been written. After this the pencil was laid on the table. 

8. Five of the experimenters declared that they had been 
touched by some mysterious hand. 

9. Twice the mysterious force drew sounds from the 
piano. The first time, this took place when the lid of the 
piano was open. The second time, the sounds were heard 
after the lid had been locked with a key, the key remaining 
on the table in the midst of the circle of experimenters. 
At first the unknown force began to play a melody on the 
high notes, and two or three times produced trills. Then 
chords on the basa notes were heard at the same time with 
the melody, and, when the piano was playing, the music- 
box also began to play, both performances lasting several 

10. During all the phenomena which have just been de- 
scribed, the medium (Sambor), seemed sunk in a profound 
trance, and remained almost motionless. The phenomena 
were not accompanied by any bustle or confusion. His hands 
and his feet were all the time controlled by his neighbors. 
M. de Poggenpohl and Loris-Melikow several times saw some- 
thing long, black, and slender detaching itself from him 
during the phenomena and moving toward the objects. 

I will add, in closing (says M. Petrovo Solovovo), that 
this medium was accused of cupidity and intemperance. 
These seances were the last he gave (he died a few months 
afterward). But, to tell the truth, I have a tender spot in 
my heart for the late M. Sambor. This Little-Russian, a 
former telegraph operator, polished and humanized by the 
six or seven winters that he had passed in St. Petersburg 
can it be that blind Nature had chosen this man to be the 
intermediary between our world and the doubtful Beyond ? 
or, at least, another world of beings whose precise nature 
(begging the pardon of the spirits) would be an enigma to 
me, provided I positively believed in them. 

It is with that word " doubt" (alas! is not doubt the most 
certain result of mediumistic experiments ?) that I end this 

To this whole series of varied observations and experi- 
ments we could still add many more. In 1905 MM. Charles 

Kichet and Gabriel Delanne held some famous seances in 
Algiers. But is not impossible that fraud may have crept 
into their experiments, in spite of all the precautions taken 
by them. (The photographs of the phantom Bien-Boa have 
an artificial look.) In 1906, the American medium, Miller, 
gave in Paris several seances in which it really seems as if 
true apparitions were manifested. I cannot say anything 
personally about it, not having been present. Among other 
experimenters, there were two very competent ones, who 
studied this medium; namely, MM. G. Delanne and G. 
Mery. The first concludes that the apparitions were what 
they represented themselves to be (see Eevue scientifique et 
morale du spiritisme) ; that is to say, the spirits of the de- 
parted. The second, on the other hand, declares in L'Eclio 
du Merveilleux, that, "until there is fuller information, 
we must be satisfied with not comprehending." 

It is not within the scope of my plan to discuss in this par- 
ticular place, " apparitions " or " materializations." We 
may ask ourselves whether the fluid which certainly emanates 
from the medium may not produce a kind of condensation 
able to furnish to the most interested observer of the mani- 
festation the elusive vision of an unreal personality which, 
besides, only lasts, as a general thing, for a few seconds. Is 
it a melange or combination of fluids? But it is not yet 
time to make hypotheses. 



A certain number of my readers perhaps remember the 
general inquiry that I instituted in the course of the year 
1899 respecting observation of the unexplained phenomena 
of telepathy, manifestations of the dying, premonitory 
dreams, etc. an inquiry published in part in my work 
L'Inconnu et les problemes psychiques. I received 4280 re- 
plies composed of 2456 no and 1824 yea. Among the latter 
there are 1758 letters with more or less of detail. A large 
number of these were not presented in such a shape that 
tlirir claims could be discussed. But I was able to use 786 
of the most important of them. They were classified, the 
essential matters transcribed, and summed up in the work of 
which I have just spoken. The most striking thing in all 
these accounts is the loyalty, conscientiousness, the frank- 
ness, and the sensitive refinement of the narrators, who are 
anxiously concerned to say only what they know, and as 
they know it, without adding or subtracting anything. In 
doing this, each becomes the servant of truth. 

These 786 letters, transcribed, classified, and numbered, 
contained 1130 different facts or observations. My examina- 
tion of the instances recorded in the letters reveals several 
kinds of subjects which may be classified as follows: 

Manifestations and Apparitions of the Dying. 
Manifestations of the Living (in Health). 
Manifestations and Apparitions of the Dead. 

Premonitory Dreams. Forecast of the Future. 



Dreams that give Information of the Dead. 

Meetings foreseen bj Presentiment. 

Presentiments realized. 

Doubles of the Living. 

Communications of Thought at a Distance (Telepathy). 

Instinctive Presentiments of Animals. 

Calls heard at Great Distances. 

Movements of Objects without Apparent Cause. 

Bolted Doors Opening of Themselves. 

Haunted Houses. 

Spiritualistic Experiments. 

Since my first publication of these documents, I have re- 
ceived many new ones. More than one thousand are to-day 
crowded into my manuscript library. They contain about 
fifteen hundred observations which seem to me to be sincere 
and authentic. The doubtful ones have been eliminated. 
These narratives emanate as a general thing from persons 
who are filled with astonishment and are extremely desirous 
oj receiving, if possible, an explanation of these strange 
events (often very affecting). All the narratives which I 
have been able to verify have been found to be fundamentally 
accurate sometimes modified afterwards, as respects their 
mere form, by a memory more or less confused. 

In L'lnconnu, I published a portion of these narra- 
tives. But I excluded from that work * phenomena not prop- 
erly included within the limits of its main plan, which was 
to show the existence of unknown faculties of the soul. 

I excluded, I say, " movements of objects without apparent 
cause," " bolted doors opening of themselves," " haunted 
houses," " Spiritualistic experiments ;" that is to say, the 
very cases studied in the present work, in which I hoped to 

* Several observations published in that work are however, connected 
in subject with the present one. For instance: a piano playing alone 
(p. 108), a door opening of itself (p. 112), curtains shaken (p. 125), 
extravagant gambols of pieces of furniture (p. 133), raps (p. 146), 
bells ringing (p. 168), and numerous examples of unexplained dis- 
turbing noises coinciding With deaths. 


be able to publish them. But space fails ine. In my de- 
sire to offer to my readers a set of records as complete as 
possible, for the purpose of giving them a firmly based opin- 
ion, I have been swamped by the abundance of material, and, 
can only rescue a few of the most interesting specimens of 
them for presentation here. 

First of all, I select the following communication as hav- 
ing a certain intrinsic value. It was sent me by my re- 
gretted friend Victorin Joncieres, the well-known composer 
of music. 

I was on a tour of inspection of the music-schools of the 
Provinces (he says), and happened to be in a city which 
I cannot name to you for the reasons which I gave. I was 
coming out of the branch establishment of our Conservatory, 
after having examined the piano-class there, when I was 
addressed by a lady who asked me what I thought of her 
daughter, and whether I judged that she ought to enter upon 
an artistic career. 

After a rather long conversation, in the course of which 
I promised to go to hear the young artist, I found myself 
engaged to go the same evening (for I was leaving the next 
day) to the house of one of their friends, a high official in 
the state service, to take part in a Spiritualistic seance. 

The master of the house received me with extreme cor- 
dialty, recalling the promise I had given him to keep secret 
his name and that of the city in which he lived. He pre- 
sented his niece, the medium, to whom he attributes the 
phenomena which take place in his house. It was, in fact, 
after the young girl's mother had died, and she came to live 
with him, that the strange occurrences began to take place. 

They began with unusual noises in the walls, and in the 
floors, with the displacement of articles of furniture that 
moved without being touched, and with the warblings of 
birds. M. X. at first believed that it was a piece of foolery 
planned either by one of his own family or by one of his 
clerks. However, in spite of the most vigilant watching, 
he could not discover any trickery, and he finally came to the 


conclusion that the phenomena were produced by invisible 
agents, with whom he believed he could communicate. He 
soon obtained raps, direct writing, the mysterious appearance 
of flowers, etc. 

After this account, he led me into a large room with bare 
walls, in which several persons had assembled, among whom 
were his wife and a professor of natural philosophy at the 
lyceum altogether, a dozen of experimenters. In the mid- 
dle of the room there was a big oak table, upon which were 
placed paper, a pencil, a small harmonica, a bell, and a 
lighted lamp. 

" The spirit announced to me a little while ago that he 
would come at ten o'clock," said the gentleman to me. " We 
have a good hour before us. I am going to utilize it by 
reading to you the minutes of our meetings for a year past." 
He laid on the table his watch, which showed five minutes to 
nine, and covered it with a handkerchief. 

For a whole hour he applied himself to reading what 
seemed to be very improbable stories; but I was longing to 
see some of the wonders. 

Suddenly a loud cracking sound was heard in the table. 
M. X. lifted the handkerchief which covered the watch. It 
was just ten o'clock. 

" Art thou there, spirit ? " said he. 

Nobody was touching the table; and on his recommenda- 
tion, we formed the chain about it, holding each other by 
the hand. 

A vigorous rap was heard. 

The young niece placed her two fingers against the edge 
of the table and asked us to imitate her. Thereupon this 
extremely heavy table rose up well above our heads, in such 
a way that we were obliged to stand on tip-toe in order to 
follow it in its ascent. It hung poised for some moments 
in the air and then slowly descended to the floor and came 
to a stop without noise. 

Then M. X. went to look up a large design for a church 
window. He put it on the table and placed beside it a glass 
of water, a box of colors, and a camel's hair brush. Then 
he put the lamp out. He lighted it again at the end of two 
or three minutes: the sketch (still damp) was painted in 


two colors, yellow and blue, and not a single brush mark 
had passed beyond the traced lines of the sketch. 

Even if we admit that some one of the sitters might have 
been able to play the role of spirit, how, in the darkness of 
the room, could he have so handled the brush as to precisely 
follow the lines of the design? I will add that the door 
was closely shut, and, that, during the very short space of 
time in which the perfonnance took place, I heard nothing 
but the sound of the water splashing in the glass. 

Raps were next struck in the table, corresponding to the 
letters of the alphabet The spirit announced that he was 
going to produce a special phenomenon in order to convince 
me personally. 

By his order the light was again extinguished. The har- 
monica then played a little sprightly motif, in six-eight. 
Scarcely had the last note sounded when M. X. lighted the 
lump. Upon a sheet of music-paper which had hrcu placed 
near the harm- mini, the theme was written very correctly 
in pencil. It would have been impossible fur any one of the 
company, in the complete darkness of the room, to write 
down these notes upon the ruled staff-lines. 

Thirteen freshly cut daisies lay scattered over the table. 

" Hello 1 " says M. X. " these are daisies from the flower- 
pot at the end of the passageway." 

As I said a moment ago, the door of the room where we 
were met had remained closed, and no one had stirred. We 
went into the passageway, and, on noticing the stems denuded 
of their flowers, we could see very plainly that the daisies 
came from the place indicated. 

Scarcely had we entered the room, when the bell on the 
table rose up to the very ceiling, ringing as it went, but fell 
abruptly back as soon as it touched it. 

On the next day, before my departure, I went to pay a 
visit to M. X. He received me in his dining-hall. Through 
the large open window a beautiful June sun flooded the 
room with its brilliant light. 

While we were conversing in a desultory way, a piece of 
military music rang out in the distance. " If there is a 
spirit here," said I, smiling, " it ought by rights to accorn- 


pany the music." At once rhythmic taps, in exact harmony 
with the double quick time, were heard in the table. The 
crackle of sounds in it died away little by little in a decres- 
cendo very skilfully timed to the last vanishing blare of the 

" Give us a fine tattoo to finish/' said I, when the sounds 
had completely ceased. The reply was a series of sounds 
like the heavy roll of drums, given with such force that the 
table trembled on its legs. I put my hand on it and very 
plainly felt the vibrations of the wood as it was struck by 
the invisible force. 

I asked if I might inspect the table. It was turned up- 
side down in my presence, and I examined it, as well as 
the floor, very carefully. I discovered nothing. Besides, 
M. X. could not, you know, foresee, that, during my visit, 
a military band would pass by, and that I should ask the 
table to accompany it by imitating the drum. 

I afterwards returned to the city where these things oc- 
curred and was present at other very curious seances. I 
should be enchanted, my dear master and friend, as I have 
said to you, to be your guide there some day. But this 
" high functionary " absolutely insists on his incognito. 

These remarkable observations by my friend Joncierea 
evidently have their value, and belong here, in the train of 
all the preceding ones. 

I give a few others below which we owe to an attentive 
and sceptical observer, M. Castex-Degrange, sub-director of 
the National School of Fine Arts at Lyons, upon whose 
veracity and sincerity not the least shadow of suspicion can 
rest, any more than in the preceding instances. I owe to 
his kindness a large number of interesting letters, and I will 
ask his permission to cite from them the most important pas- 

The following is dated the 18th of April, 1899. 

For the second time, I affirm upon my honor that I will 
tell you nothing that is not strictly true, and usually easy to 


In spite of the calling I follow, I am not at all gifted 
with imagination. I have lived much in the company of 
physicians, men from the nature of their profession little 
given to credulity; and, whether it is in consequence of my 
natural disposition, or by reason of the principles which I 
absorbed in this kind of company, I have always been very 

This is, indeed, one of the reasons why I abandoned my 
psychical experiments. I reached the most stupifying re- 
sults, and yet it was impossible for me to get to believe 
myself. I was thoroughly convinced that I was not seek in- 
to deceive myself or to deceive others, and, not being al>l< 
to surrender myself to the evidence, I was always seeking 
some other reason than the one given by the believers. That 
made me suffer, and I stopped. 

I here end this preamble, and am going to unfold to you 
the course of my observations. 

I was acquainted with a company of people, who were 
occupied with Spiritualism and with turn ing- tables, and had 
made them the butt of my wit,* a little; for, although not 
bitter or severe, I never neglected to play a good practical 
joke on them when occasion served. 

It seemed to me that these worthy people, who were, more- 
over, very sincere, were all a little " cracked " (maboules), 
if I may be allowed so uncouth, or fin de siecle, an expression. 

One day I was visiting them. The drawing-room was 
lighted by two large windows. I began, as usual, by some 
pleasantries. Their reply was in the shape of an invitation 
to me to take part in the experiments. 

" But," said I, " if I take a seat at your table it will not 
turn any more, because I shall not push it." 

" Come all the same." 

Well, I declare upon my honor that, just for a joke, I 
tried it I had scarcely put my hands on the table when it 
made a rush at me. 

I said to the person facing me, " Don't push so hard." 

The word used here by M. Caatex-Dgrange is ttte de Turc, a thing 
like the leather-covered bags in our gymnasiums, and used in fairs in 
France, to be pummelled by those wishing to try their strength. Trans, 


" But, dear sir, I was not pushing." 

I put the centre-table back in its place, but the same thing 
occurred again, once, twice, thrice. I began to get impatient 
and saidj 

" What you are doing is not very clever. If you want to 
convince me, don't push." 

He replied to me, " Nobody is pushing, only you probably 
have so much fluid in you that the table is attracted toward 
you. Perhaps you could make it go, by yourself." 

" Oh, if I myself could make it go, that would be differ- 

" Try it." 

They all moved back. I remained alone face to face with 
the table. I took hold of it, lifted it, thoroughly examined 
it. There was no trick about it. I made every body go 
behind me. I was facing the windows, and had my eyes 
open, I assure you. I stretched my arms out as far as pos- 
sible, in order to have a good view, only placing the ends of 
my fingers on the table. 

In a little less than two minutes it began to rock to and 
fro. I confess that I felt a little foolish, not wishing to 

" Yes, perhaps it moves," said I. " It is possible that an 
unknown fluid is acting upon it; at any rate, it does not 
come toward me, and just now some one was pushing it." 

" No," said one of the sitters, " nobody was pushing it ; 
but, although you are highly charged with fluid, the assist- 
ance of another person is needed for the production of the 
phenomenon: you are not enough by yourself. Will you 
allow one of us to put a hand upon yours, without touching 
the table?" 

" Yes." 

Someone put a hand on mine and I watched. The table 
at once began to move, and came and pressed against me. 
They all cried out, and claimed that they had caught a 
medium in me. I was not very much flattered with the 
title, which I considered as synonymous with " lunatic." 

" You ought to try to write," said some one to me. 

" What do you mean by that ? " 

" Why, see here. You take paper and pen, let your arm 


lie passive, and have the wish in your mind that some un- 
known person or force shall cause you to write." 

I tried it. At the end of five minutes, my arm felt as 
if it were wrapped in a woolen blanket. Then, in spite of 
myself, my hand began to trace at first mere strokes, then 
o's f a', letters of all sorts, as a schoolboy learning to write 
would do. Then, all of a sudden, came the notorious word 
attributed to Cambronne at Waterloo! I assure you, my 
dear sir, that I am never in the habit of using this coarse 
and dirty term, and that there was no auto-suggestion, 
or unconscious act of my own, in the case. I was absolutely 
stupefied by the occurrence. 

I continued these experiments at my own home. 

1. One day, when I was seated at my writing-desk. I 
felt the weird seizure in my arm. 1 1ft inv arm n-maiii pas- 
sive. The Unknown wrote: 

"Your friend Aroud is coming to see you. !! is ;1 t this 
moment in such and such un omnibuft-offioe in the suhurhs. 
lie is asking the price of tickets and the hour of departure." 

(This M. Aroud is chief of the bureau of police, prefecture 
of the Rhone.) In fact, a half-hour afterwards, Annul made 
his appearance. I told him what had taken place. 

" It is a good thing for you that you are living in the 
nineteenth century," said he to me. "A few hundred vears 
ago you would not have escaped death at the stake." 

2. On another occasion the phenomenon ocem-rcd again, 
and this time also I was at my writing de.xk : 

" Your friend Dolard is coming to see you." 
An hour afterward, sure enough ho came. I told him 
how it happened that I was waiting for him. Although he 
was very incredulous by nature, yet, for all that, this fact 
set him to thinking. The next day saw his re-appearam . . 
" Can you get a reply to a question I am going to ask 
you ? " said he. 

" Don't ask," I replied, " think it. We will try." 
I must here tell you parenthetically that I had known of 
Dolard for thirty years. He was my comrade at the Beaux- 
Arts. I knew that he had lost an elder brother, that he 
had been married, and had had the misfortune to lose, one 


by one, all the members of his family. That was all I 
knew about them. 

I took the pen and the Invisible wrote, " The sufferings 
of your sister Sophia have just ended." 

Now Dolard had mentally asked what had become of the 
spirit of a sister named Sophia, whom he had lost forty-two 
years ago, and about whom I had never heard a word spoken. 

3. My principal at the School of Fine Arts in Lyons, 
a former architect of the city of Paris, was M. Hedin. This 
M. Hedin had an only daughter, who some years ago had 
married another architect, M. Forget, in Paris. The woman 
became enceinte. 

One day when I was thinking of anything but her, the 
same thing occurred as before. The Invisible wrote: 

" Mme. Forget is going to die." 

Mme. Forget was not at all ill, apart from her being in a 
delicate situation. The next day morning, M. Hedin said to 
me that his daughter was in her pains ; and the same evening 
he told me that his wife had just set out for Paris to be 
with her. The next day I received instructions to assume 
his duties. Mme. Hedin had telegraphed to her husband to 
come to her. Her daughter was taken with puerperal fever. 
When the father got there he found only a corpse. 

4. I had a cousin named Poncet (since dead) who was 
formerly an apothecary, at Beaune (C6te-d' Or). I had 
never been at his apartments. One day he came to Lyons 
to see our aunt (she who had the vision about which I spoke 
to you). We conversed about these extraordinary psychical 
occurrences. He was incredulous. 

" Well then," said he, " try to find for me a thing which 
has no particular market value, but which I laid great store 
by, because it belonged to my deceased wife. I had a little 
packet of laces that she was very fond of, and I can't put my 
hand on it." 

The Unknown wrote, "It is in the middle drawer of the 
secretary in the chamber, behind a package of visiting cards." 

My cousin wrote to his servant at Beaune, without giving 
her any hint of our experiment, " Send by post a little 
packet which you will find in [such a place] behind a package 
of visiting cards." 


The laces arrived by return mail. 

You will notice, my dear sir, that, during the experi 
ments, I was by no means asleep or in a state of trance, 
and that I was conversing in my usual manner. 

5. One of my childhood friends, M. Laloge, at the present 
time a dealer in coffees and chocolates at Saint- 1 ji 
(Loire), had had as his professor, as well as I, an excellent 
man whom we most highly esteemed, and who was naim-.l 

M. Thollon, after having directed the education of the 
children of the Prince of Oldenburg, uncle of the present 
emperor of Russia, had returned to France and entered the 
Nice Observatory. 

We bad the misfortune to lose him shortly after. Laloge 
had a photograph of him but had lost it. He came and 
begged me to try to find it The Unknown wrote, " The pho- 
tograph is in the upper drawer of the secretary in the cham- 

Laloge had two rooms, one which he called the " salon," 
and another called the " chaml 

" There is some mistake," said he. " I have turned every- 
thing tpy-turvy in the place you mention and have found 

In the evening having to search for some object in the 
drawer, he saw in the middle of a package of letter-paper 
a little dark end of something sticking out He pulled it 
forth: it was the photograph. 

6. Camilla Bel Ion, No. 50 Avenue de Noailles, at Lyons, 
had three young children whose education he had intrusted 
to a young governess. This person left when the children 
entered college, and, sometime after, she married a very 
fine man, whose name I have unfortunately forgotten, but 
which I can easily find again if there is any need of it. 

This young woman came on her wedding trip to visit 
her old employer. I was invited to go and pass a day with 
them at the chateau of my friend Bellon. During the course 
of this visit, we talked of spiritualistic phenomena ; and the 

I had considerable acquaintance with him at the Nice Observatory, 
where, in 1884 and 1885, I made with him apectroacopic observation* 
on the rotation of the tun. C. P. 


newly married man, a highly educated veterinary doctor, 
joked me about my so-called mediumship. I, of course, 
laughed about it and we parted the best kind of friends. 

Some days afterward, I received a letter from my friend. 
He had himself received a letter from the young lady, who 
was in a great state of mind. She had lost her wedding 
ring, and was in despair. She begged my friend to ask me 
to recover it for her. 

The Mysterious Force wrote, " The ring slipped from 
Tier finger while she was asleep. It is on one of the cleats 
which hold up the mattress of the bed." 

I transmitted the despatch. The husband put his hands 
between the wood of the bed and the mattress. The wife 
did the same thing. Nothing was found. Some days after- 
wards, having decided to change the arrangement of their 
apartments, they moved their bed into another room. Of 
course they had to lift up the mattress, in order to get it 
into the other chamber. The ring was upon one of the 
cleats. They had not found it when they were hunting 
for it, because it had slipped under the mattress, which did 
not adhere to the cleat in that particular place. 

7. One of my friends, named Boucaut, who lived at 15 
quai de la Guillotiere at Lyons, had lost a letter which he 
sadly wanted. He begged me to ask where it was. 

The Invisible replied in writing, " He must remember 
that he has an oven in his garden." 

Before showing it to him, I began to laugh, saying that 
it was a joke and had nothing to do with his request. As he 
insisted that it did, I read it to him. 

" Why yes," he said to me, "that agrees very well. My 
tenant-farmer had just had his bread baked. I had heaps of 
papers which I wanted to get rid of, to burn up. My letter 
must have been burned in the pile which I reduced to ashes." 

8. One evening, in an assembly composed of a score of 
persons, a lady dressed in black greeted my entrance with a 
little nervous laugh. After the customary introductions, this 
lady spoke to me as follows: 

" Sir, would it be possible to ask your spirits to reply to a 
question I am going to ask you?" 

" In the first place, madam, I have no spirits at my dis- 


petal ; but I should be a lack-wit indeed if I said yes. You, 
of course, don't suppose that I am unintelligent enough not 
to find some kind of an answer; and, consequently, if any 
' spirits,' as you so kindly call them should happen to IT 
spond, you would not be convinced, and you would be ri^rlif. 
Write your request. Put it in an envelope there* on the 
table, and we will try. You see that I am not in a somnam- 
bulistic state, and you must believe that it is wholly im 
possible for me to know the contents of what you are going 
to enclose in it" 

So aa id, so done. 

At. the end of five minutes I assure you I was very much 
embarrassed. I had written a reply, but it was such that 
I did not dare to communicate it But here it is: 

" You are in a very bad way, and, if you persist, you 
will be severely punished. Marriage is something sacred, 
it should never be regarded as a question of money." 

After some oratorical precautions, I decided to reiul IHT 
this reply. The lady blushed up to the roots of her hair 
and strctrhed out her hands to s !/ her envelop 

" Pardon me, madam," I replied, putting my hand upon it. 
" You began by making fun of me. You wished a reply. 
It is only just, since we are making an experiment, that wo 
know what the request was." 

I tore open the envelope. Behold its contents: 

" Will the marriage take place that I am trying to brim: 
about between M. X. and Mile. Z? And, in that case, shall 
I pet what I have been promised ? " 

Notwithstanding this shameful exposure, the woman did 
not consider that she was beaten. She asked a second ques- 
tion under the same conditions. 

Reply : " Leave me alone ! When I was living you aban- 
doned me. Now don't bother mr." 

Upon this, the lady got up and disappeared! I told you 
she was in mourning. This last request of hers was as fol- 
lows : " What has become of the soul of my father ? " 

Her father had been ill for six months. Persons who were 
present and who were stupefied at the results, told me that 
during his illness she had not paid him a single visit. 

9. One day, shortly after I had lost one of my good friends, 


I was seated at my writing-desk with my head resting on 
my hand, and I was thinking of what the hereafter might 
possibly be. If all the work that a man had done was to be 
irretrievably lost, and if the beyond existed, I was wonder- 
ing what the life might be that one would lead there. All 
of a sudden, the phenomenon well known to me occurred 
(that weird seizure of the arm). Of course, I allowed my 
arm to remain passive, and here is what I read: 

" You wish to know what our occupations are ? We or- 
ganize matter, we ameliorate the condition of the spirits, and, 
above all, we adore the Creator of your souls and ours." 


In all the communications which I have obtained, every 
time a word representing an idea of the Supreme Being 
such as God, the All-Powerful, etc. came under my pen, 
the writing doubled in size, but immediately after resumed 
the same dimensions as before.* It would be very easy for 
me to give you still more numerous examples of the strange 
things that happened to me, but those I have given seem to 
me quite remarkable. I shall be happy if this true account 
can give you any assistance in your important researches. 

The letter which my readers have just perused contains 
a series of cases of such great interest that I lost no time in 
entering into regular correspondence with the author. And 
first I thought I ought to ask him about the conclusions which 
he himself had been able to draw from his personal expe- 
rience. The following is an abstract of his replies : 

May 1st, 1899. 

You ask me, my dear sir, the following questions: 
1. Whether I have reached absolute conviction as to the 
existence of one or of several spirits? 

I am a person of absolute good faith. I examined 

* In the stances of which I spoke in the early part of this book (sec- 
ond chapter), when the word "God" was dictated the table beat a 
salute. C. F. 


myself as a surgeon would examine an invalid. I am a 
person of such good faith that I have long been seeking 
(without finding him) a skilful practitioner who would 
consent to study in my own person the phenomenon while 
it was taking place; to ascertain the state of my pulse, tin- 
warmth of the skin, etc., in a word, the apparent physical 
side. Furthermore, in my opinion there is no auto-sug- 
gestion in this thing; and the proof is that I was absolutely 
iijnorant of the things that I was writing mechanically, 
BO mechanically that, when, by chance, my attention was 
called away, whether by reading or by conversation, and I 
forgot to look where my hand was going, when it approached 
the edge of the paper the writing would continue backward 
across the sheet in reversed letters and just as fast, so that I 
was obliged to turn the paper over in order by holding it to 
the light to read what was written on it. 

So then, if there is neither auto-suggestion in it, nor a 
somnambulistic condition (I was completely awake and not 
at all hypnotized), then there must be external " forces " 
acting upon my senses, " intelligent forces." This is my 
fixed and unalterable opinion. 

Now are these forces spirits? Do they belong to beings 
like ourselves? It is evident that this hypothesis would 
explain many things, but leave quite a number obscure. 
Since I several times discovered a mental state of the lowest 
kind among these " beings,' 1 I have reached a conclusion 
that it is not absolutely necessary to think that they are 

We are told that there are stars which photography alone 
can reveal, and which, possessing a color imperceptible to 
our eye, are invisible to us. Then there are the gases through 
which a human body passes without experiencing resistance. 
Who will say then, that there are not around us invisible 

And look at the instinct of the child, of the woman, of 
feeble beings in general. They fear darkness; isolation 
makes them afraid. This sentiment is instinctive, irra- 
tional. Is it not due to an intuitive perception of the 
presence of these invisible personages, or forces, against 
which they are helpless? That is pure hypothesis on my 


part, but after all it seems to me defensible. As to the 
number of the invisible beings, I believe they are legion. 

2. You ask me whether I have been able to establish their 

I answer that they sign some name or other, choosing in 
preference names of illustrious persons, in whose mouths 
they sometimes put the most stupid sort of expressions. 

Furthermore the writing frequently ceases abruptly, as 
if an electric current has just been interrupted, and that 
without any appreciable reason. Then the writing changes, 
and sometimes sensible things end in absurdities, etc. 

How explain this tangle of contradictions? I was so 
chafed and fretted by these incoherent results that I had 
for a long time abandoned the study of psychic forces, when 
your alluring researches came to wake in me my old self. 

If the unconscious doubling of the personality of the in- 
dividual (his externalization) can, in an extreme case, be 
sometimes admitted, it seems to me that there are cases 
in which this explanation becomes possible. 

But I will explain. If, as respects the facts which hap- 
pened to me personally, and the authenticity of which I 
affirm to you upon my honor, there are some in which this 
externalization could have been possible, there are others 
in which it seems to me impossible. 

Yes, strictly speaking, I might have been able, without 
suspecting it, to externalize myself, or, rather, unknown to 
myself, to be influenced by my friend Dolard when, in my 
own presence, he mentally asked me what had become of the 
soul of a deceased sister of whose name and very existence 
I was ignorant; yes, the same thing may, strictly speaking, 
explain the responses I made to the lady who questioned me 
on the subject of a marriage and her father, although it 
would in that case be necessary to suppose that she dictated 
to me the words that I was writing ; yes, my friend Boucaud, 
who was hunting letters, might, at the moment when he 
was asking me about them, have thought of that oven, of 
the existence of which I was ignorant; yes, all of that is 
(in the last analysis) possible, although it would need a 
large amount of good will to admit it. 

Yes, once more I say and always with much good will 


a table may be under the unconscious domination of a 
musician present and dictate a musical phrase. But, a 
stands, it is ditKcult to admit the same phenomenon in the 
case of Victor Hugo, whose curious seances you have ju-r 
described to the public. Why, just look at this great poet 
who, when he is asked by the table to put one or more qu -- 
tions in verse, and, not feeling that he is man enough, in 
spite of his genius to improvise something passable, asks 
for a breathing spell to prepare his questions, and brings 
them in next day! and yet you would wish that, on tlii* 
same next day, a part of himself should perform its func- 
tions, nnknoirn to himself, and compose illico, without any 
preparation, verses at least as fine as those which he took 
an entire day to create! verses of a pitiless logic and 
more profound than his own! 

Yet let us admit even that. You see, dear sir, that I 
have all the good will possible, and that I have the most 
profound respect for the scientific method. But can you 
explain by extcrnali/.ation the case of finding a lost object 
when one is even ignorant of the way in which the :i|.;irtinent 
is arranged where it has been lost? or the ability to know, 
two days in advance, of the death of a person about whom 
one was not thinking at all? A possible coincidence, you 
will toll me, but at least very strange. 

And those inverted dictations? and those in which we are 
obliged to skip every other letter? 

No, I believe that we need not give ourselves so much 
trouble and rack our brains, for it seems to me that it is 
like looking for mid-day at two o'clock in the afternoon. It 
would require the labor of all the devils to explain how this 
phenomenon can take place in our nature without the knowl- 
edge of the proprietor. I do not like to see a part of my 
personality seam poring away, and then housing itself again 
without my knowing anything about it 

As to what concerns the production of this externaliza- 
tion in a way which I may call voluntary when a person 
who feels himself dying thinks intensely about those whom 
he loves and whose absence he deplores, yes, it may be that 
his will, even unknown to himself, suggesting the absent 


person produces the phenomena of telepathy; but, in the 
phenomena of which we are speaking, that explanation seems 
to me more than doubtful. 

I find much more simple the explanation that the phe- 
nomena are caused by the presence and the action of an 
independent being, a spirit, phantasm, or elemental. 

In fine what are we all seeking? The proof of the sur- 
vival of the ego, of the individuality after death. To be or 
not to be it is all in that. For I frankly confess to you 
if I am going to dissolve away again into the great All, I 
should just as soon be annihilated. That is perhaps a weak- 
ness ; but it cannot be helped. I hold above everything else 
to my individuality; not that I set a great value on it, but 
the feeling is instinctive and I believe that at bottom every- 
body is of this opinion. This then is the goal or end, which 
at all epochs has powerfully interested man and interests 
him still to-day. 

One of the weightiest proofs of the survival of the indi- 
vidual being that I have ever met with is, in my opinion, 
the vision which my aunt had several days after the death 
of a friend of hers who, in order to give her a proof of the 
reality of her apparition, inspired in her by mental sugges- 
tion the power of seeing her in the dress she had on in her 
coffin, a costume which my aunt had never seen. 

This is one of the fine and rare arguments in favor of 
the survival of the soul, so far as my experience goes. Many 
things are explained by this survival, above all, what is 
apparently the frightful injustice of this world. 

To these important observations of M. Castex-Degrange, 
I should like to add those of a distinguished scientist, who 
has also for a long time now devoted himself to the analysis 
and synthesis of these phenomena. I mean M. Goupil. 
Some of his studies are yet in manuscript form, and I am 
indebted to this savant for permission to use them. Others 
have been reprinted in a curious brochure (Pour et Contre, 
Tours, 1893). But in citing such a large number of in- 
stances and experiments, I am abusing the kindness of my 

readers, even the most curious and the most eager for knowl- 
edge. However, I will at least point out the conclusions 
drawn by M. Goupil from his personal experiences. They 
are to be found in the work of which I have just spoken, and 
are as follows: 

Table-turning seances yield very insignificant results, IB- 
garded as pure science obtained from the spirits; but they 
are not lacking in interest from the point of view of the 
analysis of the facts and of the science to be established in 
accordance with the causes and the laws which govern these 

I believe that I can draw the conclusion from these phe- 
nomena that two theories (the reflex and the Spiritualistic) 
may be drawn from the facts. It seems to me impossible* 
to maintain that an intelligent agent other than that of the 
experimenters is not operative in them. What is this intel- 
ligence? I believe it is very hazardous to express a confi- 
dent opinion on this point in view of the incongruity of all 
these communications. 

It in also undeniable that the intellects of the operators 
enter into the phenomena to a great extent, and that in many 
cases they alone seem to act. 

I should perhaps be sufficiently near the truth if I gave 
the following definition of the phenomenon : 

Functions external to the animistic principle of the opera- 
tors, and above all of the medium, and governed by their 
intellects, but sometimes associated with an intellect un- 
knoivn and relatively independent of man. 

Experimenters have maintained that communications ob- 
tained from the so-called spirits through mediums never 
show more intellectual capacity than is possessed by the most 
intelligent person among the sitters. This assertion is gen-, 
erally justified, but it is not absolute. 

I will mention, in connection with this point, some seances 
which took place at my house. The medium was Mme. G., 
whose life I had been familiar with for twenty-seven years, 
day by day, and consequently had an intimate acquaintance 
with her character, her manners, temperament and education. 


The communications which were obtained through me- 
diumistic writing in these seances extended over a period of 
more than fifteen months. 

Mme. G. had the sense of a kind of mental, rather than 
auricular, psychical rather than physical, audition which 
dictated to her what she had to write in bits of sentences 
one after another; and this impression was accompanied 
by a strong desire to write, somewhat like the intense long- 
ing that a woman with child experiences. 

If this medium gave her attention to the sense of the 
writing during the composition, the current of power was 
shut off, and everything resumed the state of ordinary com- 
position. Her condition was that of a clerk writing uncon- 
cernedly and mechanically under the dictation of a superior. 
It resulted from this that the writings, executed at the maxi- 
mum speed of the subject, and generally without retardation 
or stoppage after the questions, were in one long string, 
without punctuation or paragraphs, and full of mistakes in 
spelling, resulting from the fact that the medium was ac- 
quainted with the sense of the writing only when she had 
read it over, at least in the case of rather long communica- 

The gist or substance of the writings seems very frequently 
to be drawn from our ideas, our conversation, our reading, 
or our thoughts ; but there are certain plainly marked excep- 

While Mme. G. was writing, I applied myself to other 
occupations, calculations, music, etc., or I walked up and 
down in the room ; but I only examined the replies when she 
had stopped writing. 

Nothing indicated that the physical and physiological con- 
dition of the medium during these writings was in any way 
different from that of her ordinary condition. Mme. G. 
could interrupt her writing at will and apply herself to other 
occupations or make responses about things unconnected with 
the seance, and it never happened that she found herself 
short of an answer. 

There is no parallelism between these writings and the 
mental endowments of Mme. G., either in promptness of 
repartee, in breadth of view, or in philosophic depth. 


In 1890 I bought Flammarion's Uranie, which Mme. G. 
did not read until 1891. I found in it doctrines absolutely 
similar to those which I had deduced from my experiments 
and from our communications. Any one who should com- 
pare these mediumistic writings with the philosophical works 
of the French astronomer would be led to believe that Mine. 
G. had previously read them. 

Psychic phenomena have this peculiarity, that identical 
assertions are made in far distant places through mediums 
who have never known each other, a fact which would tend 
to demonstrate that, running through many declarations 
which apparently contradict each other, there is a certain 
uniformity of action on the part of the intelligent occult 

In 1890 I also read the work of Dr. Antoine Cros, The 
Problem, in which I also found astonishing agreements be- 
tween the ideas of this author and those of our Unknown 
Inspirer, among others this : that man himself creates his 
Paradises and becomes that to which he has aspired. 

We should always seek the simplest explanation of the 
facts, without desiring to find the occult in them, and above 
all without looking for spirits everywhere, but also without 
wishing, under any circumstances, to reject the intervention 
of unknown agents and deny the facts when they cannot be 

It is rather curious to remark that if we compare the dic- 
tations given by the tables and the other so-called mediumis- 
tic phenomena with observations made in conditions of 
natural or hypnotic somnambulism, we find the same phases 
of incoherence, hesitation, error, lucidity and supernormal 
excitation of the faculties. 

On the other hand, the supernormal excitation of the 
faculties neither explains the cases of prediction nor the 
citation of unknown facts. In the case of many telepathic 
or other phenomena every explanation limps that excludes 
the intervention of external intelligences.. But it is still 
impossible to formulate a theory. There exists a gap to be 
filled by new discoveries.* 

Goupil, Pour et Contre, p. 113. 


I will add to these conclusions two short extracts from a 
letter which M. Goupil wrote me on the 13th of April, 1899, 
and from another one on the 1st of June, in the same year. 

1. Replying to the request which you address to your 
readers, I will say that I have never observed telepathic cases, 
but that I have for a long time been experimenting with the 
phenomena called Spiritualistic, of which I was a simple 
analyst. I have come to no conclusions as to explanatory 
theories. However, I consider it probable that there exists 
powerful intelligences other than human that intervene un- 
der certain circumstances. My opinion is based upon a 
large number of very curious personal occurrences. In my 
opinion, we have not in these phenomena the appearance of 
simple coincidences, but of circumstances willed, foreseen, 
and produced by an intelligent x. 

2. Of the ensemble of all that I have seen there is 
simultaneously the reflex action of the experimenters and 
an independent personality. This hypothesis seems to me 
true, while I should make at the same time this reservation, 
that the personality or spirit is not a finished being, with 
limitations of form, such as an invisible man would have, 
going, coming and executing commissions for human beings. 
I have glimpses of a grander and vaster system. 

Take a handful of the ocean, and you have water. 

Take a handful of the atmosphere, and you have air. 

Take a handful of space, and you have mind. 

That is the way I interpret it. That is why mind is al- 
ways present, ready to respond when it finds in any place 
a stimulus that incites it, and an organism which permits it 
to manifest itself. 

Let us confess that the problem is complex and that it is 
good to compare all the hypotheses.* 

* It has been my desire to give in this place the result of the per- 
sonal experience of a large number of men anxious to know the truth; 
above ill to reply to ignorant journalists who invite their readers to 
indulge in supercilious scorn of these researches and experimenters. 
At the very moment when I was correcting the proofs of these last 
pages I received a journal, Le Lyon republican, of the 25th of January, 
1907, which has for its leading article a quite preposterous diatribe 


From the numerous papers and documents laid out at this 
moment upon my writing-desk, I can only select a small 
number for insertion here, although they all have their spe- 
cial interest One is overwhelmed by the richness and vast- 
ness of the material. However, out of the material acquired 
in the course of the Inquiry of which I spoke above, let me 
give here one piece which I should regret not to be able to 
include within the compass of the present work. 

The former governess of the poet Alfred de Musset, Mme. 
Martelet, nee AK-lu Colin, who still lives in Paris and 
who has just been present (in 1906) at the unveiling of tlio 
statue of the poet (although his death dates from the year 
1857), has given the following account, which may be 
added here to that of movements without contact. 

An inexplicable occurrence which my sister, Mme. Char- 
lot, and myself witnessed impressed us most deeply. It took 
place at the time of the last sickness of M. de Musset. I 
shall never forget the emotion we felt that evening, and I 
still have the minutest incidents of the strange occurrence 
stamped on my memory. 

My master, who had taken no rest during all the previous 
night, had toward the end of the day, fallen into a doze in 
a large easy-chair. My sister and I had entered the chamber 

against me signed " Robert Estienno." The performance shows that 
the author does not know what he is talking about nor the man of whom 
he is treating. 

There is evidently no reason in the nature of things why the city of 
Lyons should be more disposed to error than any other point on the 
globe. But mark the coincidence: I received, at the same time, a 
number' of L'Unirerit4 catholiquc, of Lyons, in which a certain Abbe* 
Delfour speaks of " ttupernatural contemporary facts " without under- 
standing a word of the subject. 

No, the trouble is not with the city of Lyons merely. There are 
blind people everywhere. You can read a dissertation ejusdem farina-, 
signed by the Jesuit Lucien Roure, in Let fitudca rcligicuaet, published 
at Paris, with critical judgments worthy of a traveling salesman. 

In this connection, you can read in the Jfouveau Catftchisme du dio- 
ctoe de .Vanrj/: " Q. What must we think of the demonstrated facts 
of Spiritualism, somnambulism, and magnetism? A. We must at- 
tribute them to the devil, and it would be a sin to take part in them in 
any way whatever." 


on tip-toe, in order not to trouble this precious rest of his, 
and we sat quietly down in a corner where we were concealed 
by the curtains of the be<*. 

The invalid could net perceive us, but we saw him very 
well, and I sorrowfully contemplated that suffering face 
which I knew I could not much longer look upon. And still, 
even now, when I recall the features of my master, I see them 
as they appeared to me on that evening, the eyes closed, his 
finely shaped head resting upon the easy-chair, and his long, 
thin, pale hands (the paleness of the dead already upon 
them), crossed upon his knees in a contracted and shriveled 
way. We remained motionless and silent, and the chamber, 
lighted only by a feeble lamp, seemed wrapped in shadows 
and was filled with that peculiar mournful atmosphere that 
characterizes the chamber of the dying. 

Suddenly we heard a deep sigh. The invalid had waked 
up and I saw his looks go toward the bell-cord that hung 
near the fireplace some steps from the easy-chair. He evi- 
dently wanted to ring, and I do not know what feeling it 
was that held me nailed to my place. Still I did not move, 
and my master, having a horror of solitude and believing 
that he was alone in his chamber, rose up, stretched out his 
arm with the evident intention of calling someone; but, al- 
ready fatigued by this effort, he fell back into the chair with- 
out having taken a step. It was at this moment that we had 
an experience that terrified us. The bell, which the sick 
man had not touched, rang, and instinctively, at the same 
moment, my sister and I seized each other's hands, each 
anxiously interrogating the face of the other. 

" Did you hear ? " " Did you see ? " " He did not move 
from his chair ! " 

At this moment the nurse entered and innocently asked, 
" Did you ring, sir ? " 

This event put us into an extraordinary state of mind, and 
if I had not had my sister with me I should have believed 
that it was an hallucination. But both of us saw, and 
all three of us heard. It is a good many years now since 
all that took place, but I can still hear the ominous and 
mournful sound of that bell ringing in the silence of the 


This account, also, seems not to be devoid of value. There 
are undoubtedly several ways of explaining it. The first 
is that which occurs to everybody. 

The Frenchman, born malign, says Boileau, does not 
mince matters, and, apropos of this story of De Musset, 
simply exclaims in his language (always flashy and devoid 
of literary distinction), " What a fine piece of rot! " And 
that is all there is to it. A few may reflect for a moment 
more, and not admit that there is necessarily any invention 
on the part of the governess, and may think that she, as 
well as her sister, believed that De Musset had not touched 
the bell cord, while in reality he touched it with the ends of 
his fingers. But these ladies can answer that the distance 
between the hand of the poet and the cord was too great, 
that the cord was inaccessible in that position, and that it 
was that very thing which impressed them, and without 
which there would have been no story to tell. We may also 
suppose that the bell was rung by some external force im- 
pinging on it, although the cord was not pulled. We may 
still further suppose that, in the restlessness of these hours 
of distress, the waiting-woman came in without having heard 
anything, and that the coincidence of her arrival with the 
gesture of De Musset surprised the two watchers, who after- 
ward thought that they had heard the bell. However, to 
sum up the whole thing, while we may regard the occurrence 
as inexplicable, we may yet admit its truth as narrated. 
This seems to me the most logical view, and the more so that 
the gentle poet had, several times in his life, given other 
proofs of possessing faculties of this kind. 

I will add here one more instance of the movement of ob- 
jects without contact which is not without value. It was 
published by Dr. Coues in the Annales des sciences psy- 
chiques, for the year 1893. The views stated are also worthy 


of being summed up here. The observers, Dr. and Mrs. El- 
liott Coues, speak out of their own personal experience. 

It is a principle of physics that a heavy body can only be 
put in motion by the direct application of a mechanical force 
sufficient to overcome its inertia, and orthodox science main- 
tains that the idea of action at a distance is an erroneous 

The authors of the present study assert, on the contrary, 
that heavy bodies may be, and frequently are, put in motion 
without any kind of direct application of mechanical force, 
and that action at a distance is a well-established fact in 
nature. We offer proofs of these propositions based on a 
series of experiments undertaken for this purpose. 

We often repeated these experiments, during more than 
two years, with results that were convincing not only to our- 
selves but to many other witnesses. 

We do not understand how the scientific world has been 
able to accept the idea that the expression " action at a dis- 
tance " is a false one, unless those who see an error in the 
assertion attach to these words a special meaning of which 
we are ignorant. 

It is certain that the sun acts at a distance upon the earth 
and the other planets of the solar system. It is certain that 
a piece of anything thrown into the air falls back in conse- 
quence of the attraction of gravitation, and that, too, at no 
matter what distance. The law of gravitation, so far as we 
know it, is universal, and it is not yet proved that there ex- 
ists a ponderable, or otherwise palpable, medium which serves 
to transmit the force.* 

We go a little farther, even, and declare that, probably, 
all action of matter is an action at a distance, especially 
since (so far as our knowledge goes) there are not in the 
whole universe two particles of matter in absolute contact; 
and, consequently, if they act the one upon the other, it must 

* Newton, as is well known, declares, in his letter to Bentley, that 
he can only explain gravitation by supposing the existence of a medium 
which transmits it. Yet, to our senses, the ether would not be a ma- 
terial thing. But, however that may be, celestial bodies do certainly 
act at a distance one upon another. 


IK* at some distance, this distance being infinitely small and 
entirely inappreciable to our senses. 

We therefore maintain that the law of movement at a dis- 
tance is a universal mechanical law and that the idea that it 
does not exist is a kind of a paradox, simply a hair-splitting 

The two authors of this study sometimes experimented 
together, sometimes separately, more often with one or more 
additional experimenters, sometimes with four, five, six, 
wren or eight They witnessed at different times, in full 
light, the vigorous and even violent movements of a large 
table which nobody touched directly or indirectly. The per- 
sons mentioned were all friends of theirs, living, like them, 
in the city of Washington, and all sincerely desirous of 
knowing the truth of the matter. There was no professional 

The scene opens in a little parlor in our house (they 
write). In the centre of the room is a large heavy oak table 
in marquetry, which weighs about one hundred pounds. 
The top is oval and measures four feet and a half by three 
and a half. It has only a single support, in the middle, 
branching off into three legs, or feet, with casters. Above it 
is the chandelier, several burners of which are lighted and 
give sufficient light for the ladies to read and work by the 
table. Dr. Cones is seated in his easy-chair, in a corner of 
this large room, at a distance from the table, reading or writ- 
ing by the light of two other burners. 

The ladies express the wish to see if the table " will do 
something," as they say. 

The cloth is removed. Mrs. C., seated in a low rocking- 
chair, places her hands on the table. Mrs. A., also seated 
in a low easy-chair, does the same, facing her at the opposite 
side of the table. Their hands are opened and placed upon 
the upper surface of the table. In this position, they can- 
not lift the table by themselves with their hands : that is an 
entire impossibility. Neither can they push it by leaning 


on it in order to make it rise on the opposite side, except by 
muscular effort easily observed. Neither can they lift the 
table unaided with their knees, since these are at least a foot 
away from the top and since moreover their feet never leave 
the floor. Finally, they cannot lift the table by means of 
their toes slipped under a foot of the table, because the table 
is too heavy. 

Under these conditions, and beneath the full light of at 
least four gas jets, the table habitually began to crack or snap, 
and produced divers strange noises quite different from those 
which could be obtained by leaning upon it. These noises 
soon showed, if I may so say, some reason in their incoher- 
ence, and certain definite strokes or rappings came to rep- 
resent " yes," and " no." According to an arranged code of 
signals, we were able to enter into a conversation with an 
unknown being. Then the table was generally polite enough 
to do what it was asked. One side or another of it tipped as 
we wished. It went from one side or the other according 
as we requested. Under these circumstances we made the 
following experiments : 

The two ladies removed their hands from the table and 
drew back their chairs, while still remaining seated in them 
at a distance of one or two feet. Dr. Coues from his arm 
chair saw distinctly above and beneath the table. The feet 
of the ladies were from twelve to thirty-six inches distant 
from the feet of the table. Their heads and their hands were 
still farther off. There was no contact with it. Even their 
dresses were not within a foot or two of it. Under these 
conditions, the table lifted one of its feet and let it fall heav- 
ily back. It lifted two feet to a height of from two to six 
inches, and, when they fell back, the blow was heavy enough 
to make the floor shake, and make the glass globes of the 
chandelier tinkle. Besides these energetic, even violent 
movements, the table displayed its power by means of raps 
or balancings. 

Its yes's or its no's were commonly rational, sometimes in 
agreement with the ideas of the one who put the question, 
sometimes in persistent opposition to those ideas. ^ Some- 
times the invisible agent affirmed that he was a certain per- 
Bon, and maintained that individuality during an entire 


Or possibly this character was dropped, so to speak, 

or at least ceased to appear, and another person, or another 
being, look its place, with different ideas and opinion*. 
Thereupon, the raps or the movements also differed. Finally 
the inanimate table, which waa supposed to be inert, took 
on for the moment all the appearance of a living being pos- 
sessing an intelligence aa keen aa that of an ordinary person. 
It expressed itself with aa much will and individuality as 
our friends Mused it to do by their voices and their gestures. 
And yet, during this whole time no on* of the thr** person* 
present touched Ik* table, the two ladies being at a distanot 
of two or three feet, and l>r. (ones seven to tan feet, in a 
corner of the room, which waa lighted by four gas jets, 
Tnsjn was no other person prssent that one could see. If 
this was not a case of telekinesis, or movement of objects 
without contact, absolutely different from ordinary and nor- 
mal mechanical movement, we can certainly no longer put 

These observations of Dr. and Mrs, Elliott Cones are 
all as positively accurate and authentic as the oeourreoes of 
an earthquake, the falling of a fire-ball from the sky, a chem- 
ical combination, an experiment with an electrical machine, 
The sceptics who smile at them and aay that everything is 
fraud are persons IB whom the sense of logic is wanting. 

Aa to the explanation to be given of them, that ia a differ- 
ent question from that of the pure and simple authentication 
of the facts. 

Those to whom these descriptions of phenomena and 
perimenta appeal (adds the narrator) must take particular 
notice that the authors of this study, although they have had 
occasion to speak of conversations held with the table and 
to mention special tones of voice, and intelligible messages 
imparted by pieces of inert wood, categorically refuse to ap- 
proach the question of the source or origin of the intelligent* 
thus manifested. That is an entirely different question, 
with which we do not meddle. The single, or at least the 


principal, object of the publication of this study is to estab- 
lish the truth of movement without contact. 

But, having very plainly verified the fact and established 
it by proofs in our possession, it might perhaps be expected 
of us that we offer some explanation of the extraordinary 
things that we vouch for. We respectfully reply that we are 
both too old and perhaps too wise to claim to explain any- 
thing. When we were younger, and fancied that we knew 
everything, we could explain everything, at least to our 
own satisfaction. Now that we have lived long enough, we 
have discovered that every explanation of a thing raises at 
least two new questions, and we do not feel any desire to 
stumble against new difficulties; for these multiply in 
geometrical ratio, in proportion to the extent and accuracy of 
our researches. We hold to this principle, that nothing is 
explained so long as there still remains an explanation to 
be sought. Under these conditions, we shall do better to 
recognize the inexplicability of these psychical mysteries, be- 
fore, rather than after, futile theories about them. 

There you have what is absolutely reasonable, whatever 
may be said of it. 

And now, after these innumerable verifications of facts, 
and after all these professions of faith, shall I myself, have 
the courage, the pretension, the pride or the simplicity of 
mind, to start in search of the much desired information ? 

Whether we find it or not, the facts nevertheless exist It 
was the object of this book to convince my readers of this, 
readers who should give to the subject their close attention, 
be possessed of unbiased judgment and good faith, and 
have the eyes of the spirit wide open and free from all weak- 



It is quite in the fashion, as a general thing, to profess 
sbaolute scepticism regarding the phenomena which form the 
subject of the present work. In the opinion of three-quar- 
ters of the citizens of our planet all unexplained noises in 
haunted houses; all displacements without contact of bodies 
more or less heavy; all movements of tables, pianos, or other 
objects produced in the experiments styled Spiritualistic; 
all communications dictated by raps or by unconscious 
writing; all apparitions, partial or total, of phantom 
forms are illusions, hallucinations, or hoaxes, 
planation is needed. The only rational opinion is that all 
44 mediums," professional or not, are imposters, and the par- 
ticipators in a seance are imbeciles. 

Bonn-tii i om of theat < ninaol jndgi j ,>n-rnf-, n.-t i<> 
cease tipping the wink and smiling in his royal competency, 
but to condescend to be present at a seance. If, as only too 
frequently happens, no response to the command of the will 
is obtained, the illustrious observer retires, firmly convinced 
that, by his extraordinary penetration, he has discovered the 
cheat and blocked everything by his clairvoyant intuition. 
He at once writes to the journals, shows up the fraud, and 
sheds humanitarian crocodile tears over the sad spectacle of 
men, apparently intelligent, allowing themselves to be taken 
in ly impostures, detected by him at the first blush. 

This first and easy explanation, that everything in the 



manifestations is fraud, has been so often exposed, discussed, 
and refuted during the course of this work that my readers 
probably consider it (at least I hope they do) as entirely, 
absolutely, and definitely decided and thrown out of the ring. 

However, I advise you not to speak too freely of these 
things at table, or in a drawing room if you do not like to 
have people making fun of you, more or less discreetly. If 
you air your views in public, you will produce the same 
effect as those eccentric fellows of the time of Ptolemy, who 
dared to speak of the movement of the earth and excited 
such inextinguishable laughter in respectable society that 
the echoes ring with it still in Athens, Alexandria, and 
Rome. It is only a repetition of what took place when 
Galileo spoke of the spots on the sun, Galvani of electricity, 
Jenner of vaccine, Jouffroy and Fulton of the steamship, 
Chappe of the telegraph, Lebon of gas-lighting, Stephen- 
son of railways, Daguerre of photography, Boucher de 
Perthes of the fossil man, Mayer of thermodynamics, Wheat- 
stone of the transatlantic cable, etc. If we could gather up 
all the sarcasms launched at the heads of these " poor crazy- 
wits," we should get a fine basket of venerable blunders, 
moldy as a remainder biscuit after a voyage. 

So let us not speak too much of our mysteries unless 
it amuses us, in our turn, to ask some questions of the pret- 
tiest dolls in the company. One of them inquired in my 
presence, yesterday evening, what the man named Lavoisier 
did, and whether he was dead. Another thought that 
Auguste Comte was a writer of songs and asked if any one 
knew one of them which would suit a mezzo-soprano voice. 
Another was astonished that Louis XIV had not built one of 
the two railway stations of Versailles nearer the palace. 

Moreover, on my balcony, a member of the Institute, who 
saw Jupiter shining in the southern sky at the meridian 
point, over one of the cupolas of the Observatory, obstinately 

maintained in my presence that this luminary was the polar 
star. I did not dispute the point with him too long! 

There are not a few people who believe at once in the 
value of universal suffrage and in that of titles of nobility. 
Of course, wo \vill not force these Janus-faced wise men to 
vote upon the admissibility of psychic phenomena into the 
sphere of science. 

But we will henceforth consider this admissibility as 
something granted, and, tossing back to the laughing sceptics, 
to the habitues of clubs and cliques, the general opinion of 
the world, of which I have just spoken, begin here our logical 

We have had under consideration during the course of this 
work several theories by scientific investigators which are 
worthy of attention. Let us first of all sum these up. 

In the opinion of Gasparin, these unexplained movements 
are produced ly a fluid, emanating from us under the action 
of our will. 

Professor Thury thinks that this fluid, which he calls 

psychode, is a subetance which forms a link between the soul 

and the body; but there may also exist certain wills external 

to ourselves, and of unknown nature, working side by side 

with us. 

The chemist Crookos attributes the phenomena to psychic 
force, this being the agent by which the phenomena are pro- 
duced; but he adds that this force may well be, in certain 
cases, seized upon and directed by some other intelligence. 
" The difference between the partisans of psychic force and 
those of Spiritualism," he writes, " consists in this : we 
maintain that it is not yet proved that there exists a direct- 
ing agent other than the intelligence of the medium and 
that presence and actions of the spirits of the dead are felt 
in the phenomena, while, on the contrary, the Spiritualists 
accept as an article of faith, without demanding more proofs 
thereof, that these spirits are the sole agents in the produc- 
tion of the observed facts." 


Albert de Rochas defines these phenomena as " an exter- 
nalization of motivity" and considers them to be produced 
by the fluidic double, " the astral body " of the medium, a 
nerve-fluid able to act and perceive at a distance. 

Lombroso declares that the explanation must be sought 
simply in the nervous system of the medium, and that we 
have in the phenomena transformation of forces. 

Dr. Ochorowicz affirms that he has not found proofs in 
favor of the Spiritualistic hypothesis, any more than he has 
in favor of the intervention of external intelligences, and that 
the cause of the phenomena is a fluidic double detaching it- 
self from the organism of the medium. 

The astronomer Porro is inclined to admit the possible 
action of unknown spirits, of living forms different from our 
own, not necessarily the souls of the dead, but psychical enti- 
ties to be studied. In a recent letter he wrote me that the 
theosophic doctrine appeared to him to approach the nearest 
to a solution.* 

Prof. Charles Richet thinks that the Spiritualistic hypoth- 
esis is far from being demonstrated, that the observed facts 
relate to an entirely different order of causes, as yet very 
difficult to disentangle and that in the present state of our 
knowledge no final conclusion can be agreed on. 

The naturalist "Wallace, Professor Morgan, and the elec- 
trician Varley declare, on the other hand, that sufficient proof 
has been given them to warrant them in accepting without 
reserve the Spiritualistic doctrine of disembodied souls. 

Prof. James H. Hyslop, of the University of Columbia, 
who has made a special study of these phenomena, in the Pro- 
ceedings of the London Society for Psychical Research, and 
in his works Science and a Future Life and Enigmas of 
Psychical Research, thinks that there are not yet enough 
severely critical verifications to warrant any theory. 

*The initiated know that according to this doctrine the terrestrial 
human being is composed of five entities: the physical body; the ethe- 
real double, a little less gross, surviving the first for some time; the 
astral body, still more subtile; the mental body, or intelligence, sur- 
viving the three preceding; and finally the Ego, or iiideatructible soul. 


Dr. Grasset* a disciple of Pierre Janet, does not admit 
displacement of objects, or levitation, or the greater part of 
the facts described in this book as proved, and thinks what 
is called Spiritualism is a question of medical biology, of 
" the physiopathology of the nervous centres," in which a cel- 
ebrated cerebral polygon with a musical conductor named O, 
plays an automatic role of a very curious description. 

Dr. Maxwell concludes from his observations that the 
greater part of the phenomena, the reality of which cannot 
be doubted, are produced by a force existing in us, that this 
force is intelligent, and that the intelligence manifested 
comes from the experimenters. This would be a kind of col- 
lective consciousness. 

M. Marcel Mangin does not adopt this "collective con- 
sciousness," and declares that it is certain that the being, in 
the seances, who asserts that he is a manifestation is " the 
sub-consciousness of the medium." 

The foregoing are some of the principal opinions. It 
would take a whole book to discuss in writing the proposed 
explanations, but that is not my object. My aim was to focus 
the question on what concerns THE ADMIBSIBILITY OF THE 


However, now that this is done, we cannot but ask our- 
selves, what conclusions may be drawn from all these ob- 

If we wish to obtain, after this mass of verifications, a 
satisfactory rational explanation, it seems to me we must 
proceed gradually, classify the facts, analyze them, and only 
admit them in proportion to their absolute and demonstrated 
certainty. We live in a very complex universe, and the most 
singular confusion has arisen among phenomena which are 
very distinct one from another. 

As I said in 1869, at the tomb of Allan Kardec, " The 
causes in action are of several kinds, and are more numer- 
ous than one would suppose." 


Can we explain the observed phenomena, or at least any 

portion of it? It is our duty to try. For this purpose I 

shall classify them in the order of increasing difficulties. It 

is always advisable to begin with the beginning. 

May I hope that the reader will have got a clear idea in 
his mind of the experiments and observations set forth in 
the previous pages of this work ? It would be a little insipid 
to refer every time to the pages where the phenomena have 
been described. 

1. ROTATION OF THE TABLE, with contact of the hands of a 

certain number of operators. 

This rotation can be explained by an unconscious impulse 
given to the table. All that is necessary is that each one 
push a little in the same way, and the movement will take 

2. MOVEMENT OF THE TABLE, the hands of the experiment- 

ers resting upon it. 

The operators push and the table is led along without their 
knowing it, each one acting in a greater or less degree. They 
think they are following it, but they are really leading it 
along. We have in this only the result of muscular efforts, 
generally of a rather slight nature. 

3. LIFTING OF THE TABLE on the side opposite to that upon 

which the hands of the principal actor are placed. 

Nothing is more simple. The pressure of the hands upon 
a centre-table with three legs suffices to produce the lifting 
of the leg the farthest removed, and thus to strike all the 
letters of the alphabet. The movement is less easy in the 
case of a table with four legs; but it can also be obtained. 

These three movements are the only ones, it seems to me, 
which can be explained without the least mystery. Still, the 
third is only explicable in case the table is not too heavy. 


Several experimenters being seated around the table, and 
forming the chain with the desire of seeing it rise, the waves 


of a kind of vibrations (light at first) are perceived to be 
passing through the wood. Then balancings are noticed, 
some of which may be due to muscular impulses. But al- 
ready something more is now mingled in the process. The 
table seems to be set in motion of itself. Sometimes it rises, 
no longer as if moved by a lever, or by pressure on one side, 
but under the hands, as if it were sticking to them. This 
levitation is contrary to the law of gravitation. Hence we 
have here a discharge of force. This force emanates from 
our organism. There is no sufficient reason to seek for any- 
thing else. Nevertheless, what we have detected is a thing 
of prime importance. 


The table being in rapid rotation, we can remove our hands 
from it, and see it continue the movement The velocity or 
momentum acquired may explain the momentary contin- 
uation of this movement and the explanation given in the 
case of No. 1 may suffice. But there is more in it than this. 
Rotation is obtained by holding the hands at a distance of 
some inches above the table, without any contact. A light 
layer of flour dusted over the table is found to be untouched 
by a single finger. Hence the force emitted by the operators 
must penetrate the table. 

The experiments prove that we have in us a force capable 
of acting at a distance upon matter, a natural force, gener- 
ally latent, but developed in different degrees in different 
mediums. The action of the force is manifested under con- 
ditions as yet imperfectly determined. (See pp. 81, 248 et 
seq.) We can act upon brute matter, upon living matter, 
upon the brain and upon the mind. This action of the will 
is shown in telepathy. It is shown more simply still by 
means of a well-known experiment : at the theatre, in church, 
when hearing music, a man accustomed to the exercise of will- 
power, and sitting several rows of seats behind a woman, 
say, compels her to turn around in less than a minute. A 
force emanates from us, from our spirit, acting undoubtedly 
by means of etherwaves, the point of departure of which 
is a cerebral movement. 

And there is nothing very mysterious in this. I bring 


my band near a thermometer, and ascertain that something 
invisible is escaping from my hand, and, at a certain re- 
move, making the column of mercury rise. This something 
else is heat ; that is to say, aerial waves in movement. Then 
why might not other radiations emanate from our hands and 
from our whole being ? 

But, nevertheless, there is a very important scientific fact 
to be established. 

This physical force is greater than that of the muscles, as 
I am going to prove. 


A table is loaded with sacks of sand and with stones weigh- 
ing altogether from 165 to 176 pounds. The table lifts each 
of its three legs several times in succession. But it suc- 
cumbs under the load and is broken. The operators ascer- 
tain that their muscular force would not have sufficed to 
produce the observed movements. The will acts by a dy- 
namic prolongation. 


The hands forming the chain some inches above the side 
of the table which is to be lifted, and all wills being concen- 
trated on the one idea, the lifting of each of the legs in suc- 
cession takes place. The liftings are more readily obtained 
than rotations without contact. An energetic will seems to 
be indispensable. The unknown force passes from the ex- 
perimenters to the table without any contact. If the table 
is dusted over with flour, as I said, not the slightest finger- 
touch is seen to be imprinted on it. 

The will of the sitters is in play. The table is ordered 
to make such and such a movement and it obeys. This will 
seems to be prolonged beyond the bodies of the operating 
experimenters in the shape of a force that is quite intense. 

This power is developed by action. The balancings pre- 
pare for the rising and the latter for complete levitation. 


A quadrangular table is suspended by one of its sides to a 
dynamometer attached to a cord which is held above by some 


kind of a hook. The needle of the dynamometer, which, 
in a state of rest, indicates 35 kilograms, gradually descends 
to 3, 2, 1, kilograms. 

A mahogany board is placed horizontally, and hung by one 
end to a spring balance. This balance (or scales), has a 
point which touches a pane of glass blackened by smoke. 
When this pane of glass is put in movement, the needle 
traces a horizontal line. During the experiments, this line 
is no longer straight, but marks -reductions and increments of 
weight, produced without any contact of hands. In the ex- 
periments of Crookes we saw that the weight of a board in- 
creased almost l J /4 pounds. 

The medium places his hands upon the back of a chair and 
lifts the chair. 



The dynamometric experiments that we have just recalled 
themselves go to show this augmentation. 

I have more than once seen, in other circumstances, a 
table become so heavy that it was absolutely impossible for 
two men to lift it from the floor. When they succeeded in 
doing so, in a measure, by means of quick jerks, it still 
seemed to stick to the floor as if held by glue or india rubber, 
which immediately pulled it back to the floor after it had 
been slightly displaced. 

In all these experiments, there is proof of the action of an 
unknown natural force emanating from the chief exper- 
imenter or from the collective powers of the group, an organic 
force under the influence of the will. It is not necessary to 
suppose the presence of superhuman spirits. 



As there may be confusion in applying the word " lifting " 
to a table which only rises on one side at a certain angle, 
while still touching the floor, it is expedient to apply the 
word " levitation " to the case in which it is completely sep- 
arated from the floor. 

Generally, in levitation, it rises from six to eight inches 


from the floor, for some seconds only, and then falls back. 
It moves up in a balancing, undulating, hesitating way, with 
effort, and then falls straight down. While resting our 
hands upon it, we have the sensation of a fluid resistance, as 
of it were in water, the kind of fluid sensation we ex- 
perience when we bring a piece of iron into the field of force 
of a magnet. 

A table, a chair or other movable article sometimes rises, 
not merely a foot or so, but almost to the height of one's 
.head, and even as high as the ceiling. 

The force brought into play is considerable. 


This case is of the same order as the preceding. The me- 
dium may be raised with his chair and placed upon the table, 
sometimes in imstable equilibrium. He may also be lifted 
alone (without the chair).* 

In this case the Unknown Force does not seem to be simply 
mechanical: intention is mingled with the act, and ideas of 
precaution, which, however may proceed from the mentality 
of the medium himself, aided perhaps by that of the sitters. 
This fact seems to us to contravene known scientific laws. 

* These observations may be compared with a little social diversion 
which is rather popular, and is particularly described in one of the 
first works of Sir David Brewster (Letters to Walter Scott upon Na- 
tural Magic) in the following terms: 

" The heaviest person of the company lies down on two chairs, the 
shoulders resting on one and the legs on the other. Four persons, one 
at each shoulder and one at each foot, try to lift him, and at first find 
the thing difficult to do. Then the subject of the experiments gives two 
signals by clapping his hands twice. At the first signal, he and the 
four others inhale deeply. When the five persons are full of air he 
gives the second signal, which is for the lifting. This takes place with- 
out the least difficulty, as if the person lifted were as light as a 

I have frequently performed the same experiment upon a man in a 
sitting posture by placing two fingers under his legs and two under 
his arm-pits, the operators inhaling all together uniformly. 

This is undoubtedly a case of biological action. But what is the es- 
sential nature of gravitation? Faraday regarded it as an "electro- 
magnetic " force. Weber explains the movement of the planets around 
the sun by "electro-dynamism." The tails of comets, always turned 
away from the sun, indicate a solar repulsion coincident with the at- 
traction. We know no more to-day than in the time of Newton what 
gravitation really is. 


It is the same case as that of the cat which knows how to 
turn of itself, without any outside support or leverage, when 
it falls from a roof, and always falls on its feet, a fact con- 
trary to the principles of mechanics taught in every univer- 
sity in the world. 


A piano weighing more than 750 pounds rises up off of 
its two front legs, and it is ascertained that its weight varies. 
The force with which it is animated arises from the prox- 
imity of a child rl< \< n years old, but it is not the conscious 
will of this child which acts. A heavy oak diniug-table may 
rise BO high that its under side can be inspected during the 


A heavy easy-chair moves about of its own accord in the 
room. Heavy curtains reaching from the ceiling to the floor 
are forcibly swelled out as if by a gust of wind, and envelop 
as with a hood the heads of persons seated at a table, at a 
distance of three feet and more. A centre table persists in 
the endeavor to climb upon the experiment-table and gets 
there. While a sceptical spectator is bantering the " spir- 
its," the table about which the experiments are taking place 
makes a move towards the incredulous person, drawing the 
sitters along with it, and pins him to the wall until he begs 
for mercy. 

As in the preceding cases, these movements may represent 
the expression of the will of the medium, and may not nec- 
essarily indicate the presence of a mind external to his own. 
Nevertheless ? 


In tables, in pianos, and other pieces of furniture, in the 
walls, in the air, raps are heard, and their vibrations per- 
ceived by the touch. They somewhat resemble the sounds 
obtainable by tapping against a piece of wood with the joint 
of the bent finger. The question arises, Whence come tin -> 
noises? The question is asked aloud. They are repeated. 
The request is made that a certain number of strokes be' 


rapped. The raps are heard. Well-known airs are accom- 
panied by raps beaten in perfect time with them and iden- 
tifiable as the counterpart of the airs. When bits of music 
are played, the accompaniment is rapped out. Things take 
place as if an invisible being were listening and acting. But 
how could a being without acoustic nerve and without a tym- 
panum hear ? The sonorous waves must strike something in 
order to be interpreted. Is this a mental transmission ? 

These raps are made. Who makes them? And how? 
The mysterious force emits radiations of wave-lengths inac- 
cessible to our retina, but powerful and rapid, without doubt 
more rapid than those of light, and situated beyond the ultra- 
violet. Besides, light impedes their action. 

In proportion as we advance in the examination of the 
phenomena, the psychic, intellectual, mental element is more 
and more mingled with the physical and mechanical element. 
In the case we are considering we are forced to admit the 
presence, the action, of a thought. Is this thought simply 
that of the medium, of the chief experimenter, or the result- 
ant of the thoughts of all the sitters united ? 

Since these raps or those made by the legs of the table, on 
being interrogated, dictate words and phrases and express 
ideas, there is something more in the matter than a simple 
mechanical action. The unknown force, the existence of 
which we have been obliged to admit in the preceding observa- 
tions, is in this case at the service of an intelligence. The 
mystery grows complicated. 

It is owing to this intellectual element that I proposed (be- 
fore 1865 ; see p. xix) to give the name " psychic " to this 
force, a name proposed anew by Crookes in 1871. We saw 
also that, as early as the year 1855, Thury had proposed the 
name " psychode " and " ecteneic " force. From this on, it 
would be impossible for us in our examination not to take 
into consideration this psychic force. 

Up to this point, Gasparin's fluid might suffice, just as un- 
conscious muscular action sufficed for the first three classes 
of facts. But starting from this fourteenth class, the psychic 
order plainly manifests itself (and even in the preceding 
class we begin already to divine its presence). 



I have heard as have all other experimenters not only 
sharp light raps upon a table, like those of which I have just 
been speaking, but mallet-blows, or blows of the fist upon n 
door, capable of knocking down a man if he had receivi <! 
them. Generally, these tremendous blows are a protestation 
against a denial on the part of one of the sitters. There is in 
them an intention, a will, an intelligence. They may also 
be due to the medium, who is indignant, or who is amusing 
himself or herself. The action is not muscular; for the 
hands and feet of the medium are held, and the rapping may 
occur some distance away from him or her. 


Fraud can explain those which take place within the reach 
of the medium's hands, for they only occur in the darkness. 
But they have been felt at a certain distance beyond this 
reach as if the hands of tin- n in limn were prolonged. 


An accordion in an open-work case, or cage, which keeps 
any other hand from touching it, is held in one hand by the 
end opposite the keys. Presently the instrument begins to 
lengthen and shorten of itself and plays various melodies. 
An invisible hand with fingers (or something like them), 
must therefore be acting. (Experiment of Crookes \\itli 
II< wie.) As the reader has seen I repeated this experiment 
with Eusapia. 

Another time, a music-box, the handle of which was turned 
by an invisible hand, played in perfect time with the music 
movements that Eusapia was making upon my cheek. 

An invisible hand forcibly snatched from my hand a block 
of paper which I was holding out with extended arm at the 
height of my head. 

Invisible hands removed from M. Schiaparelli's head his 
spectacles (furnished with a spring), which were firmly fas- 
tened behind his ears, and that so nimbly and with such light 
touch that he did not perceive it until afterwards. 



The hands are not always invisible. Sometimes semi-lu- 
minous ones are seen to appear in the dim light, hands of 
men, hands of women, hands of children. Sometimes they 
have clear-cut outlines. They are generally firm and moist 
to the touch, sometimes icy cold. At times they melt away 
in the hand. For my part I was never able to grasp one. 
It was always the mysterious hand that took mine, often 
feeling through a curtain, or sometimes by nude contact, 
or pinching my ear, or running its fingers through my hair 
with great rapidity. 


For my part, I have only seen two : the bearded silhouette 
at Monfort-1'Amaury, and the head of a young girl with high- 
arched forehead, in my drawing-room. In the case of the 
first I had believed that there was a mask held at the end 
of a rod. But at my own home, there was no possibility of 
an accomplice, and at present I am not less sure of the first 
instance than of the other. Moreover, the testimony of other 
observers is so precise and so often given that it is imperative 
that it be classed with my own. 


I have never seen any of these nor photographed them, but 
it seems to me impossible to be sceptical about that of Katie 
King observed for three consecutive years by Crookes and 
others who experimented with the medium Florence Cook. 
One can scarcely doubt, also, the reality of the phantoms seen 
by the committee of the Dialectical Society of London. We 
have seen that trickery plays a frequent role in this s 
apparitions; but, in the experiments just mentioned, the ob- 
servations were really conducted with such perspicacity that 
they are safe from all objection, and have on them the stamp 
of a purely scientific character. 

These phantoms, like the heads and the hands mentioned, 
seem to be condensations of fluids produced by the powers of 
the medium, and do not prove the existence of mdependc 


When the hand is stretched out, the rubbing of a beard can 
be felt upon it. This happened to me, as well as to others. 
Did the beard really exist, or was it only a case of tactual and 
visual sensations? The case here immediately following 
pleads in favor of its reality. 


The heads and the hands formed are sufficiently dense to 
leave a mould of their features and shape imprinted in the 
putty or the clay. Perhaps the most curious thing is that it 
is not necessary that these weird formations, these forces, be 
visible in order to produce impressions. We have seen a vig- 
orous gesture imprint itself at a distance in clay. 


A book has been seen passing through a curtain. A bell 
has passed from a library-room, locked with a key, into a 
drawing-room. A flower has been seen passing perpendic- 
ularly downward through a dining-room table. Some have 
thought they had ocular proof of the mysterious appearance 
of plants, of flowers, of fruits, and other objects, which (as 
the claim went) had passed through walls, ceilings, doors. 

Tho latter phenomenon took place several times in my 
presence. But I was never able to get certain proof of it 
under unimpeachable conditions; and I have ferreted out 
many a trick. 

The experiments of Zollner (a wooden ring entering into 
another wooden ring, a string tied at the two ends making 
a knot, etc.) would, of course, be a thing of exceptional in- 
terest if the medium Slade had not the bad reputation of be- 
ing just a skilful prestidigitator, a reputation probably 
only too well merited. I should think that there is good 
reason to suppose that the experiments of Crookes are au- 

Has space only three dimensions ? We will set this ques- 
tion aside. 



These have been already glimpsed in a certain number of 
the preceding cases. The forces in action here are of the 
psychical as well as the physical class. The question is to 
know whether the intellect of the medium and of the sitters 
is sufficient to explain everything. 

In all the cases I have previously mentioned, this intellect 
seem to suffice, but only by attributing to it occult faculties of 
prodigious potency. 

In the present state of our knowledge, it is impossible for 
us to understand the way in which mind, conscious or un- 
conscious, can lift a table, make raps in wood, form a hand 
or a head, stamp an imprint. The modus operandi is abso- 
lutely unintelligible to us. Future science will perhaps dis- 
cover it. But all these actions never overpass the limits of 
man's capacities, and let us admit, the capacity required 
is not an extraordinary one. 

The hypothesis of spirits of another order than that of 
living human beings does not seem to be necessary. 

The hypothesis of the doubling of the psychic personality 
of the medium is the most simple. Is it sufficient to entirely 
satisfy us ? 

Hard blows on the table like those of a fist, contrasting 
with gentle taps, may have this origin, in spite of appear- 

It is the same with apparitions of the hands, of heads, of 
spectral forms. We cannot declare this origin of the phe- 
nomena to be impossible ; and it is more simple than to as- 
sume that they are due to wandering spirits. 

The conveying of objects over the heads of the experiment- 
ers in complete darkness, without touching either chandelier 
or heads, is scarcely comprehensible. But do we understand 
any better how a spirit can have hands? And if it did, 
might it not amuse itself thus ? Spectacles are taken from a 
face without the act being perceived; a handkerchief is re- 
moved from the neck, then snatched from between the teeth 
that are holding it ; a fan is transferred from one pocket to 
another. Do latent faculties of the human organism suf- 


fice to explain these intentional actions? It is right for us 
neither to affirm nor to deny. 

I have thus passed in review the whole series of pnenomena 
to be explained, at least all those within the limits of the 
plan of this work. 

A first, and obviously safe, conclusion is that man has 
in himself a fluidic and psychic force whose nature is still 
unknown, but which is capable of acting at a distance upon 
matter and of moving the same. 

This force is the expression of our will, of our desires; 
I mean as it appears in the first ten cases of the preceding 
classifications. For the other cases we must add the uncon- 
scious, the unforeseen, wills different from our conscious 

The force is at once physical and psychical. If the me- 
dium puts forth a force of twelve or fourteen pounds to lift 
a table, his weight undergoes a corresponding increase. The 
hand which we see forming near him is able to grasp an ob- 
ject The hand really exists, and is then reabeorbed. Might 
we not compare the force which brings it into existence with 
that building-force of nature, which reproduces a claw for the 
lobster and a tail for the lizard ? The intervention of spirits 
is not all indispensable.** 

* It is not indispensable, even in certain cases in which it seems to be 
so. Let us take an example. At a seance in Genoa (1906), with Eu- 
aapia, M. Yourie'vich, general secretary of the Psychological Institute of 
Paris, besought the spirit of his father, who asserted that he was pres- 
ent before him in ghostly form, to give him a proof of identity by 
producing in the clay an impression of his hand, and above all of a 
linger the nail of which was long and pointed. The request was made 
in Russian, which the medium aid not understand. Now this impres- 
fiion was sure enough obtained several months after, with the mark of 
the nail referred to. Does this fact prove that the soul of the father 
of the experimenter actually performed the act with his hand? No. 
The medium received the mental suggestion for producing the pheno- 
menon, and did in fact produce it. The Russian language did not make 
any difference. The suggestion was received. Besides, the hand was 
much smaller than that of the man whose spirit was evoked. 

The experimenter next asks his deceased father to give him hia 


In mediumistic experiments things happen as if an invisi- 
ble being were present, able to transport the different objects 
through the air, usually without striking against the heads 
of the persons who are sitting in various parts of the room in 
almost complete darkness ; capable also of acting upon a cur- 
tain like a strong wind, pushing it far out, able to fling this 
curtain over your head, giving you a Capuchin hood or 
coiffure, and pressing strongly against your body, as if with 
two nervous arms, and touching you with a warm and living 
hand. I have perceived these hands in the most unmistak- 
ble way. The invisible being can condense itself sufficiently 
to become visible, and I have seen it passing in the air. To 
suppose that I, as well as other experimenters, was the dupe 
of an hallucination is an hypothesis which cannot be main- 
tained for a single moment and would simply show that those 
who entertained the idea were far more likely to have an 
hallucination than we were, or else that they entertained the 
most inexcusable prepossession and prejudice. We were in 
the best possible condition for observing and analysizing 
any phenomena whatever and no sceptic will make us be- 
lieve anything different on this point. 

There is certainly an invisible prolongation of the organ- 
ism of the medium. This prolongation may be compared to 
the radiation which leaps from the loadstone to reach a bit 
of iron and put it into movement. 

We can also compare it with the effluvium which emanates 
from electrified bodies.* 

blessing, and he perceives a hand which makes the sign of the cross be- 
fore him (in the Russian style, the three fingers together) upon the 
forehead, the breast, and the two sides. The same explanation is ap- 
plicable here. 

It was a mistake to say that this ghost and his son conversed to- 
gether in the Russian tongue, as the published account said. M. 
Yourievich only heard some unintelligible sounds. People always ex- 
aggerate, and these exaggerations work the greatest possible harm to 
the truth. Why amplify? Is there not enough of the unknown in 
these mysterious phenomena? 

* In certain countries (Canada, Colorado), a gas-jet can be lighted 
by holding out the finger toward it. 


I also compared it some pages back to calorific waves. 

When a medium makes a gesture of striking the table 
with his closed fist, but stops short at a distance of from 
eight to twelve inches, and when, at every gesture, a sonorous 
stroke of the fist echoes in the table, we see in that the proof 
of a dynamic prolongation of the arm of the medium. 

When she pretends to imitate on my cheek the rotation of 
the crank of a music-box, and when this box keeps time with 
the imitated movement, stops when the fingers stop, plays 
the tune faster when the finger accelerates its circular trac- 
ings, goes slower when it goes slower, etc., we have here again 
proof of dynamic action at a distance. 

When an accordion plays of its own will, when a bell be- 
gins to ring of itself, when a lever indicates such and such 
a pressure, there is a real force in action. 

We must therefore admit, first of all, this prolongation of 
tin- muscular and nervous force of the subject. I am keenly 
sensible of the fact that this is a bold proposition, almost in- 
credible, most strange and extraordinary; but after all the 
facts arc tin-re, and whether the matter irks us or not is a 
small matter. 

This prolongation is real, and only extends to a certain 
distance from the medium, a distance which can bo measured, 
and which varies according to circumstances. But is it suffi- 
cient to explain all the observed phenomena ? 

We are forced to admit that this prolongation, usually in- 
visible, and impalpable, may become visible and palpable; 
take, especially, the form of an articulated hand, with flesh 
and muscles ; and reveal the exact form of a head or a body. 
The fact is incomprehensible; but after so many different 
observations, it seems to me impossible to see in this curious 
phenomenon only trickery or hallucination. Logic lays its 
laws upon us and commands our respect. 

A fluidic and condensable double has therefore the power 


of gliding momentarily out from the body of the medium (for 
his presence is indispensable). 

How can this double, this fluidic body have the consist- 
ency of flesh and of muscles? We do not understand it. 
But it would neither be wise nor intelligent to admit only 
that which we can comprehend. It must be remembered 
that, for the greater part of the time, we imagine we compre- 
hend things because we can give an explanation of them ; that 
is all. Now this explanation rarely has any intrinsic 
value. It is only a framework of words tacked together. 
Thus you fancy you understand why an apple falls from 
the top of the tree, because you say that the earth attracts 
it. This is pure simple-mindedness. For in what does 
the attraction of the earth consist? You know nothing 
about it ; but you are satisfied, because the fact is a common 

When the curtain is inflated as if pushed out by a hand, 
and when you feel you are pinched in the shoulder by a hand 
at the moment the curtain touches you, you have the impres- 
sion that you are the dupe of an accomplice hidden behind 
the curtain. There is some one there who is playing a prac- 
tical joke on you. You draw aside the curtain. Nothing! 

Since it is impossible for you to admit a trick of any kind, 
because you, and you alone, hung that curtain between the 
two walls ; and since you know that there is no person behind 
it because you are close by it and have not lost it out of your 
sight ; and since the medium is seated near you with his, or 
her, hands and legs held, you are forced to admit that a tem- 
porarily materialized being has touched you. 

It is certain that these facts may be denied and that they 
are denied. Those who have not personally verified them are 
excusable. It is not a question of ordinary events which take 
place every day and which everybody can observe. It is 
evident, as a general proposition, that, if we admit only 

what we have ourselves seen, we shall not get very far. We 
admit the existence of the Philippine Islands without having 
been there, of Charlemagne and of Julius Caesar without 
having seen them, of total eclipses of the sun, volcanic erup- 
tions, earthquakes, etc., as facts of which we have not our- 
selves been eye-witnesses. The distance of a star, the weight 
of a planet, the composition of one of the heavenly bodies, 
the most marvelous discoveries of astronomy, do not excite 
scepticism, except in the minds of wholly uncultivated 
persons, because people in general appreciate the value of 
astronomic methods. But undoubtedly, in these psychical 
matters, the phenomena are so extraordinary that one is ex- 
cusable for not believing them. 

Nevertheless, if anyone will give himself the trouble to 
reason he will positively be compelled to recognize that, in 
following on this trail, he is inevitably brought to a stand in 
face of the following dilemma: either the experimenters 
have been the dupes of the mediums, who have uniformly 
cheated, or else these stupefying facts actually exist. Now 
since the first hypothesis is eliminated, we are forced to ad- 
mit the reality of the occurrences. 

A fluidic body is formed at the expense of the medium, 
emerges from his organism, moves, acts. What is the in- 
telligent force that directs this fluidic body and makes it act 
in such or such a way ? Either it is the mind of the me- 
dium, or it is another mind that makes use of this same fluid. 
There is no escape from this conclusion. I may remark that 
the meteorological conditions, fine weather, agreeable tem- 
perature, cheerfulness, high spirits, favor the phenomena; 
that the medium is never wholly out of touch with the mani- 
festations, and frequently knows what is going to take place ; 
that the cause escapes the mental grasp and is fugitive and 
capricious; and that the apparitions fade away like a dream 
as silently as they are formed. 


Note also that, in important manifestations, the medium 
suffers, complains, groans, loses an enormous amount of 
force, exhibits an astonishing nervous energy, experiences 
hyperaesthesia, and at the apogee of the manifestation, seems 
for an instant to be absolutely prostrated. And, in truth, 
why should not his mind as well as his fluidic force be haled 
out of his body and be exhausted in external work? The 
psychical force of a living human being is able, then, to 
create " material " phenomena organs, spectral figures. 

But what is matter ? 

My readers know that matter does not exist as it is per- 
ceived by our senses. These only give us incomplete im- 
pressions of an Unknown Reality. Analysis shows us that 
matter is only a form of energy. 

In the work called A Propos d' Eusapia Paladino, which 
sums up his experiments with this medium, M. Guillaume 
de Fontenay ingeniously tries to explain the phenomena by 
the dynamic theory of matter. It is probable that this ex- 
planation is one of those that make the nearest approach to 
the truth. 

According to this theory, the quality which seems to us 
characteristic of matter solidity, stability is no more 
substantial than the light which strikes our eyes, or the sound 
which enters our ears. We see; that is to say, we receive 
upon the retina rays which affect it. But around and on 
every side of the retina undulate countless other rays that 
leave no impression upon it. It is the same with the other 

Matter, like light, like heat, like electricity, seems to be 
the result of a species of movement. Movement of what? 
Of the primitive monistic substance, quickened by manifold 

Most assuredly, matter is not that inert thing that we com- 
monly suppose. 


A comparison will aid in comprehending this. Take a 
carriage-wheel. Place it horizontally on a pivot While 
the wheel is motionless, let a rubber ball fall between its 
spokes. This ball will almost always pass through between 
the spokes. Now give a slight movement to the wh<vl. 
The ball will be pretty often hit by the revolving spokes, 
and will rebound. If we increase the rotation, the ball will 
now no longer pass through the wheel, which will have be- 
come for it a wholly impenetrable disc. 

We can try a similar experiment by arranging the wheel 
vertically and shooting arrows through it. A bicycle-wheel 
will serve the purpose very well, owing to the slendemess 
of its spokes. When not in movement, tin- arrows will pass 
through it nine times out of ten. In movement, it will pro- 
duce in the arrows deviations more or less marked. With 
increase in the speed, it would be made impenetrable, and 
all the arrows would be broken as if against the steel plating 
of an armored ship. 

These comparisons allow us to understand how matter is 
really only a mode of motion, only an expression of force, a 
manifestation of energy. It will disappear (it must be 
borne in mind) on analysis, which ends by taking refuge 
in the intangible, invisible, imponderable, and almost im- 
material atom. The atom itself which was regarded as the 
basis of matter fifty years ago, has now disappeared, or 
rather has been metamorphosed and reappears as a hypothet- 
ical, impalpable vortex. 

I will allow myself to repeat here what I have said a hun- 
dred times elsewhere : The universe is a dynamism. 

The difficulty we have in explaining to ourselves appari- 
tions, materializations, when we try to apply to them the 
ordinary conception of matter, is considerably lessened the 
moment we conceive that matter is only a mode of motion. 

Life itself, from the most rudimentary cell up to the n. 


complicated organism, is a special kind of movement, a move- 
ment determined and organized by a directing force. Ac- 
cording to this theory, momentary apparitions would be 
less difficult to accept and to comprehend. The vital force 
of the medium might externalize itself and produce in a 
point of space a vibratory system which should be the counter- 
part of itself, in a more or less advanced degree of visibility 
and solidity. These phenomena can with difficulty be 
reconciled with the old hypothesis of the independent and 
intrinsic existence of matter : They better fit that of matter 
as a mode of motion in a word, simple movement, giving 
the sensation of matter. 

There is, of course, only one substance, the primitive sub- 
stance, which antedates the original nebula the womb 
from which all bodies in the universe have issued. The sub- 
stances which the chemists take to be simple bodies oxygen, 
hydrogen, azote, iron, gold, silver, etc. are mineral ele- 
ments which have been gradually formed and differentiated, 
just as, later, the vegetable and animal species were differ- 
entiated. And not only is the substance of the world one, 
but it also has the same origin as energy, and these two forms 
are mutually interchangeable. Nothing is lost, nothing is 
created, everything is transformed.* 

The unique substance is immaterial and unknowable in its 
essence. We see and touch only its condensations, its aggre- 
gations, its arrangements ; that is to say, forms produced by 
movement. Matter, force, life, thought, are all one. 

In reality, there is only one principle in the universe, and 
it is at once intelligence, force, and matter, embracing all 
that is and all that possibly can be. That which we call 
matter is only a form of motion. At the basis of all is force, 
dynamism, and universal mind, or spirit. 

* See what I formerly wrote on this subject in Lumen, in Uranie, in 
Stella, and in my Discours sur I'unite de force et I'unite d substance. 
published in I'Annuaire du Cosmos, for 1865. 


Visible matter, which stands to us at the present moment 
for the universe, and which certain classic doctrines consider 
as the origin of all things movement, life, thought is 
only a word void of meaning. The universe is a great organ- 
ism controlled by a dynamism of the psychical order. Mind 
gleams through its every atom. 

The environment or atmosphere is psychic. There is 
mind in every thing, not only in human and animal life, but 
in plants, in minerals, in space. 

It is not the body which produces life: it is rather life 
which organizes the body. Does not the will to live increase 
the viability of enfeebled persons, just as the giving up of 
the wish to live may abridge life and even extinguish it ? 

Your heart beats, night and day, whatever be the position 
of your body. It is a well-mounted spring. Who or what 
adjusted this elastic spring? 

The embryo is formed in the womb of the mother, in the 
egg of the bird. There is neither heart nor brain. At a 
certain moment the heart beats for the first time. Sublime 
moment! It will beat in the child, in the adolescent, in the 
man, in the woman, at the rate of about 100,000 pulsations 
a day, of 36,500,000 a year, of 1,825,000,000 in fifty 
years. This heart that has just been formed is going to 
beat a thousand millions of pulsations, two thousand millions, 
three thousand millions, a number determined by its in- 
herent force; then it will stop and the body will fall into 
ruins. Who or what wound up this watch once for all ? 

Dynamism, the vital energy. 

What sustains the earth in space? 

Dynamism, the velocity of its movement. 

What is it in the bullet that kills I 

Its velocity. 

Everywhere energy, everywhere the invisible element. It 
is this same dynamism that produces the phenomena we have 


been studying. The question at present resolves itself into 
this: Does this dynamism belong wholly to the experi- 
menters? We have so little real knowledge of our mental 
nature that it is impossible for us to know what this nature 
is capable of producing, even in certain states of unconscious- 
ness in fact especially in these. The directing intelli- 
gence is not always the personal, normal, intelligence of the 
experimenters or of any one whatever among them. We ask 
the entity what its name is, and it gives us a name which is 
not ours; it replies to our questions, and usually claims to 
be a discarnate soul, the spirit of a deceased person. But 
if we drive the question home, this entity finally steals away 
without having given us sufficient proofs of its identity. 
There results from this the impression that the " medium," 
or principal subject of the experiment, has responded for 
himself, has reflected himself, without knowing it. 

Moreover, this entity, this personality, this spirit, has his 
individual will, his caprices, his cantankerousness, and some- 
times acts in opposition to our own thoughts. He tells us 
absurd, foolish, brutal, insane things, and amuses himself 
with fantastic combinations of letters, real head-splitting 
puzzles. It astonishes and stupefies us. 

What is this being ? 

Two inescapable hypotheses present themselves. Either 
it is we who produce these phenomena or it is spirits. But 
mark this well : these spirits are not necessarily the souls of 
the dead ; for other kinds of spiritual beings may exist, and 
space may be full of them without our ever knowing any- 
thing about it, except under unusual circumstances. Do we 
not find in the different ancient literatures, demons, angels, 
gnomes, goblins, sprites, spectres, elementals, etc? Perhaps 
these legends are not without some foundation in fact. 
Then we cannot but remark that, in our mediumistic studies 
and experiments, in order to succeed we always address an 


invisible being who is supposed to hear us. If this is an 
illusion, it dates from the very origin of Spiritualism, from 
the raps produced unconsciously by the Fox sisters in their 
chambers at Hydesville and at Rochester in 1848. But once 
more, this personification may pertain to our own being or it 
may represent a mind external to ourselves. 

In order to admit the first hypothesis we must admit at 
the same time that our mental nature is not simple, that there 
are in us several psychic elements, and that one at least of 
these elements may act unknown to ourselves, make raps in a 
table, move any piece of furniture, lift a weight, touch us 
with a hand that seems real, play an instrument, create a 
spectral figure, read hidden words, answer questions, act with 
a personal will and all this, I repeat, without our own 

This is tolerably complicated ; but it is not impossible. 

That there are in us psychic elements, obscure, uncon- 
scious, capable of acting outside of the sphere of our normal 
consciousness, this is something we CUM notice every night in 
our dreams; that is to say, during a quarter, or a third part 
of our life. Scarcely has sleep closed our eyes, our ears, all 
our senses, than our thoughts begin to work just the same as 
during the day, though without rational direction, without 
logic, under the most incoherent forms, freed from our custo- 
mary conceptions of space and time, in a world entirely 
different from the normal world. The physiologists and 
psychologists have for centuries been trying to determine the 
mechanism of the dream without having yet obtained any 
satisfactory solution of the problem. But the proved fact 
that we see sometimes, in our dreams, occurrences which 
take place at a distance, proves that we have in us unknown 

Again, it is not rare for each of us to experience, sometimes 
(all our faculties being on the alert), the play of an interior 


power, distinct from our dominant reason. We are on the 
point of pronouncing words that are not a part of our habit- 
ual vocabulary, and ideas suddenly traverse and arrest the 
course of our thoughts. During the reading of a book which 
seemed interesting to us ? our soul spreads her wings and flies 
to other realms, while our eyes continue in vain the mechani- 
cal act of reading. We are discussing certain projects in our 
mind, as if we were so many judges ; and then, one would like 
to know in all simplicity, whence comes this distraction ? 

In his tireless researches, the great investigator of psychic 
phenomena, Myers, to whom we owe synthetic studies upon 
the subliminal consciousness, reached the conviction, with 
Ribot, that " the me is a co-ordination." 

These supernormal phenomena (writes this competent and 
learned inquirer) are due not to the action of the spirits of 
deceased persons, as Wallace believes, but, for the most part, 
to the action of an incarnate spirit, either that of the sub- 
ject himself or of some agent or other.* 

The word " subliminal " means what is beneath the thresh- 
old (limen) of the consciousness, the sensations, the 
thoughts, the memories, which remain at the bottom, and 
seem to represent a kind of sleeping me. I do not pretend 
to affirm (adds the author) that there always exists in us two 
me's correlative and parallel: I denote rather by the sub- 
liminal me that part of the me which ordinarily remains 
latent, and I admit that there may be not merely co-oper- 
ation between these two quasi-independent currents of 
thoughts, but also changes of level and alternations of per- 
sonality, f Medical observation (Felida, Alma) proves that 
there is in us a rudimentary supernormal faculty, something 
which is probably useless to us, but which indicates the exist- 
ence, beneath the level of our consciousness, of a reserve of 
latent unsuspected faculties.:}: 

What is it that is active in us in telepathic phenomena ? 

* The Human Personality, p. 11. 
t Id., p. 23. 
lid., p. 63. 


We may recall the case of Thomas Garrison (Society for 
Psychical Research, VIII, p. 125) who, while sitting with 
his wife at a religious service, suddenly gets up in the middle 
of the sermon, goes out of the church, and, as if impelled by 
an irresistible impulse, walks twenty miles afoot to go to see 
his mother, whom he finds dead on his arrival, although he 
did not know that she was ill and although she was relatively 
young (fifty-eight years). I have a hundred observations 
similar to this in writing before me. It is not our normal 
habitual nature that is in action in such a case as this. 

There is probably in us, more or less sentient, a sub-con- 
scious nature, and it is this which seems to be at work in 
mediumistic experiences. I am pretty much of the opinion 
Myers expresses in the following paragraph : * 

Spiritualists attribute the movement and the dictations at 
their seances to the action of disembodied intelligences. But 
if a table execute movements without being touched, there 
is no reason to attribute these movements to the intervention 
of my deceased grandfather, rather than to my own proper 
intervention; for if I do not see how I could have done it 
myself, it is not clear to me how the effect could have been 
produced by the action of my grandfather. As for dicta- 
tions, the most plausible explanation seems to me to be for 
us to admit that they do not come from the conscious me, 
but from that profound and hidden region where fragmen- 
tary and incoherent dreams are elaborated. 

This explanatory hypothesis is held, with an important 
modification, by a distinguished savant to whom also we owe 
long and patient researches into the obscure phenomena of 
normal psychology ; I mean Dr. Geley, who thus sums up his 
own conclusions: 

A certain amount of the force, intelligence, and matter 
of the body may perform work outside of the organism, 

* The Human Pertonality, p. 313. 


act, perceive, organize, and think without the collaboration 
of muscles, organs, senses and brain. It is nothing less 
than the uplifted sub-conscious portion of our being. It 
constitutes, in truth, an externalizable sub-conscious nature, 
existing in the me with the normal conscious nature.* 

This sub-conscious nature does not seem to depend upon the 
organism. It is probably anterior to it, and will survive it. 
It seems to be superior to it, endowed with powers and ac- 
quirements very different from the powers and acquirements 
of the normal, supernormal, and transcendent consciousness. 

Assuredly, there is in this view of the case more than one 
mystery still, were it only the feat of performing a material 
act at a distance, and that (not less strange) of apparently 
having nothing to do with that kind of an act. 

The first rule of the scientific method is first to seek expla- 
nations in the known before having recourse to the unknown, 
and we should never fail to comply with this rule. But if 
this method of sailing does not bring us to port, it is our duty 
to confess it. 

I very much fear that that is what is the matter here. We 
are not satisfied. The explanation is not clear, and is float- 
ing a little too much at random in the waves and the wav- 
ering uncertainty of the hypothesis. 

At the point at which we have now arrived in this chapter 
of explanations we are precisely in the position of Alexander 
Aksakof when he wrote his great work, Animism and Spirit- 
ualism, in reply to the book of Dr. von Hartmann on Spirit- 
ualism. Hartman claimed to explain all of these psychical 
phenomena by the following hypothesis. 

A nervous force producing, outside of the limits of the 
human body, mechanical and plastic effects. 

Duplicate hallucinations of this same nervous force, and 
producing also physical and plastic effects. 

* The Subconscious Nature, p. 82. 


A latent somnambulistic consciousness, capable (the sub- 
ject being in- his normal state) of reading in the intellectual 
background of another man, his present and his past, and 
being able to divine the future. 

Akaskof tried to see if these hypotheses (the last of which 
is a pretty bold one) are sufficient to explain everything, and 
he concludes that they are not. That is also my opinion. 
There is something else. This something else, this residue 
at the bottom of the crucible of experiment, is a psychic ele- 
ment, the nature of which remains still wholly hidden from 
us. I think that all the readers of this book will share my 

Anthropomorphic hypotheses are far from explaining 
everything. Besides, they are only hypotheses. We must not 
hide from ourselves that thesr phenomena introduce in into 
another world, into an unknown world, one that is still to 
be explored in its whole extent. 

As to beings different from ourselves, what may their 
nature be? Of tins we cannot form any idea. Souls of the 
dead? This is very far from being demonstrated. The in- 
numerable observations which I have collected during more 
than forty years all prove to me the contrary. No satisfac- 
tory identification has been made.* 

The communications obtained have always seemed to pro- 
ceed from the mentality of the group, or, when they are 
heterogeneous, from spirits of an incomprehensible nature. 
The being evoked soon vanishes when one insists on pushing 
him to the wall and having the heart out of his mystery. 
And then my greatest hope has been deceived, that hope of 
my twentieth year, when I would so gladly have received 
celestial light upon the doctrine of the plurality of worlds. 
The spirits have taught us nothing. 

Se my remarks in The Unknown, pp. 290-294. 


Nevertheless, the agents seem sometimes to be independent. 
Crookes mentions having seen Miss Fox write automatically 
a communication for one of her sitters while another com- 
munication upon another subject was given to her for a 
second person by means of the alphabet and by raps, and 
all the while she was chatting with a third person upon an- 
other subject totally different from the other two. Does this 
remarkable fact prove with certainty the action of a spirit 
other than that of the medium ? 

The same scientist mentions that, during one of his stances, 
a little rod crossed the table, in full light, and came and 
rapped his hand, giving him a communication by following 
the letters of the alphabet spelled out by him. The other 
end of the rod rested on the table at a certain distance from 
the hand of the medium Home. 

This case seems to me, as well as to Crookes, more con- 
clusively in favor of an exterior spirit, so much the more 
since the experimenter having asked that the raps be given by 
the Morse telegraphic code, another message was thus rapped 
out. I also remember that the learned chemist mentions that 
the word " however " hidden by his finger, upon a news- 
paper, and unknown even to himself, was rapped out by a 
little rod. 

Wallace also mentions a name written upon a piece of 
paper fastened by him under the central leg of the experi- 
ment table ; Joncieres, a water-color correctly painted in com- 
plete darkness, and a musical theme written with a pencil; 
M. Castex Degrange, the announcement of a death, and the 
place where a lost object might be found. We have also seen 
sentences dictated either backwards or in such a way that 
every other letter only must be read to get the sense, or else 
by strange combinations showing, the action of an unknown 
intellect. We have a thousand examples of this kind. 

But if the mind of the medium may liberate itself and 


appear in an extra-normal state, why might it not be 
mind which acts? Do we not have several distinct person- 
alities in our dreams? If they could dynamically appear, 
would they not act somewhat in this way ? 

We ought not to lose sight of the fact that these phenomena 
are of a mixed character. They are at once physical and 
psychical, material and intellectual, are not always produce' I 
by our conscious will, and are rather the subject of observa- 
tion than experiment. 

It is expedient to insist on this characteristic. I one day, 
(January 31, 1901) heard E. Duclaux, member of the In- 
stitute, director of the Pasteur Institute, express the fol- 
lowing confused idea (an idea held by so many physicists and 
BO many chemists), in a company which was yet quite com- 
petent to discuss these phenomena: " There is no scientific 
fact except a fact which can be reproduced at will." * What 
a singular reasoning! The witnesses of the fall of a meteor 
bring us an aerolite which has just fallen from the sky and 
been dug up, all hot, from the hole it had made in the 
ground. " Error ! illusion ! " we ought to reply : " We shall 
only believe when you repeat the experiment." 

They bring to us the body of a man killed by a stroke of 
lightning, stripped of his clothes, and shaved as if with a 
razor. " Impossible 1 " we ought to reply ; " pure invention 
of your deluded senses." A woman sees appear before her, 
her husband, who has just died nearly two thousand miles 
away. We are asked to believe that this is not so, and will 
not be so until the apparition appears a second time. 

This confusion between observation and experiment is a 
very strange thing as coming from cultivated men. 

In psychical phenomena there is a voluntary, capricious, 
incoherent, intellectual element. 

I repeat, we must learn to comprehend that everything 

* See Bulletin of the Psychological Institute, Vol. I. pp. 25-40. 


cannot be explained and resign ourselves to waiting for an 
extension of our knowledge. There is intelligence, thought, 
psychism, mind, in these phenomena. There is still more in 
certain communications. Can the observations be confirmed 
and justified by assuming the mind of the living merely as 
the active agents? Yes, perhaps, but only by attributing 
to us unknown and supernormal faculties. Yet it must be 
remembered that this is only an hypothesis. The Spiritual- 
istic hypothesis of communication with the souls of the dead 
remains also as a working hypothesis. 

That souls survive the destruction of the body I have not 
the shadow of a doubt. But that they manifest themselves 
by the processes employed in seances the experimental method 
has not yet given us absolute proof. I add that this hypothe- 
sis is not at all likely. If the souls of the dead are about us, 
upon our planet, the invisible population would increase at 
the rate of 100,000 a day, about 36 millions a year, 3 bil- 
lions 620 millions a century, 36 billions in ten centuries, 
etc., unless we admit re-incarnations upon the earth itself. 

How many times do apparitions, or manifestations occur ? 
When illusions, auto-suggestions, hallucinations, are elimi- 
nated, what remains? Scarcely anything. Such an excep- 
tional rarity as this pleads against the reality of apparitions. 

We may suppose, it is true, that all human beings do not 
survive their death, and that, in general, their psychical en- 
tity is so insignificant, so wavering, so ineffectual, that it 
almost disappears in the ether, in the common reservoir, in 
the environment, like the souls of animals. But thinking 
beings who have the consciousness of their psychical existence 
do not lose their personality, but continue the cycle of their 
evolution. It would seem natural therefore to see them 
manifest themselves under certain circumstances. Persons 
condemned to death, in consequence of judicial errors, and 
executed, should they not return to protest their innocence ? 

Would it not be reasonable to suppose that persons put to death 
in such a way that violence was not suspected would return 
to accuse the assassins? Knowing the characters of Robes- 
pierre, of Saint-Just, of Fouquier-Tinville, I should like to 
have seen them revenge themselves a little on those who tri- 
umphed over them. The victims of '93, should they not have 
returned to disturb the sleep of the conquerors ? Out of the 
twenty thousand citizens shot by fusillades during the time 
of the Commune of Paris I should like to have seen a dozen 
unceasingly harassing the Hon. M. Theirs, who was really 
too puffed up and vain-glorious over his having first per- 
mitted the organization of that insurrection and then pun- 
ished it 

Why do not children whose death is lamented by their 
parents ever come to console them? Why do our dearest 
attachments seem to disappear forever ? And how about last 
wills and testaments stolen away, and the last will of the dead 
ignored and their intentions purposely misinterpreted? 

" It is only the dead that do not return," says an old prov- 
erb. This aphorism is not of absolute application, perhaps ; 
but apparitions are rare, very rare, and we do not understand 
their precise nature. Are they actual apparitions of the 
dead? It is not yet demonstrated. 

Up to this day, I have sought in vain for certain proof of 
personal identity through mediumistic communications. 
And then one does not see why spirits, if they exist around 
us, should have need of mediums at all, in order to manifest 
themselves. They surely must form a part of nature, of the 
universal nature which includes all things. 

Nevertheless, it seems to me that the Spiritualistic hypothe- 
sis should be preserved by the same right as those I have 
summed up in the immediately preceding pages, for the dis- 
cussions have not eliminated it.* 

Quite recently I saw an account of some phenomena which rather 


But why are there manifestations the result of the group- 
ing of five or six persons around the table? That this 
should be a sine qua non is not a very likely thing either. 

It may be, it is true, that spirits exist around us, and 
that it is normally impossible for them to make themselves 
visible, audible, or tangible, not being able to reflect rays of 
light accessible to our retina, or to produce sonorous waves, 
or to effect touches. Therefore, certain conditions present 
in mediums might be necessary for their manifestation. No- 
body has the right to deny this. But why so many puzzling 
incoherences and solecisms? 

I have on a bookshelf before me several thousand communi- 
cations dictated by " spirits." In the last analysis, a dim 
obscurity remains hanging over the causes. Unknown psy- 
chic forces : fugitive entities ; vanishing figures ; nothing solid 
to grasp, even for the thought. These things do not yield us 
the consistency of a definition of chemistry or of a theorem 
in geometry. A molecule of hydrogen is a granite cliff in 

The greater part of the phenomena observed, noises, 
movement of tables, confusions, disturbances, raps, replies to 
questions asked, are really childish, puerile, vulgar, often 
ridiculous, and rather resemble the pranks of mischievous 
boys than serious bona-fide actions. It is impossible not to 
notice this. 

Why should the souls of the dead amuse themselves in this 
way? The supposition seems almost absurd. 

We know that an ordinary man does not change his intel- 
lectual or moral value from day to day, and, if his spirit con- 
plead in its favor than otherwise (Bulletin of the Society for Psychical 
Studies of Nancy, Nov.-Dec., 1906). Out of the eleven instances men- 
tioned, the first and the second may have been taken from a cyclopedia, 
the third and the fourth from public journals; but, in the case of the 
seven others, the admission of the identity of apparitions with the 
originals they purported to represent is surely the best explanatory 

tinues to exist after the death of his body, we may expei-t to 
find it such as it was before. But why so many oddities and 
incoherences ? 

However these things may be, it behooves us not to have 
any preconceived idea, and our bounden duty is to seek to 
prove the facts as they present themselves to us. 

The unknown natural force brought into play for the lift- 
ing of a table is not the exclusive property of mediums. In 
different degrees it forms a part of all organisms, with dif- 
ferent coefficients, 100 for organisms such as those of Home, 
or Eusapia, 80 for others, 50 or 25 for lees favored individ- 
uals. But I should hold it as certain that it never drops in 
any case to 0. The beat proof of this is that, with patience, 
perseverance, and the exercise of the will, almost all tlio 
groups of experimenters who have seriously occupied them- 
selves with these researches have succeeded in obtaining, not 
merely movements, but also complete levitations, raps, and 
other phenomena. 

The word " medium " scarcely has any longer a reason 
being, since the existence of an intermediary between the 
spirits and us is not yet proved, But still the word may be 
preserved, logic being the rarest of things in grammar and in 
everything else that is human. The word " electricity " has 
had no connection for a long time with amber (^Acxrpov), 
nor the word " veneration " with the genitive case of Venus 
(Veneris), nor the (at first astrological) term "disaster" 
with aster (star), nor the word " tragedy " with goat-song 
(r/xiyot, o^). But this does not hinder these words from 
being understood in their habitual sense.* 

As a forestalling of judgment on what is yet to be demonstrated, 
the word " medium " is a wholly improper term. It takes it for granted 
that the person endowed with these supra-normal psychic faculties is 
an intermediary between the spirits and the experimenters. Now while 
we may admit that this is sometime* the case, it is certainly not always 


As respects explanatory hypotheses, I repeat, the field is 
open to all. It is to be noted that communications dictated 
are closely related to the condition of mind, the ideas, the 
opinions, the beliefs, the knowledge, and even the literary 
culture, of the experimenters. They are like a reflection, 
or counterpart, of this ensemble of ideas and faculties. 
Compare the communications noted down in the house of 
Victor Hugo in Jersey, those of the Phalansterian Society 
of Eugene Nus, those of astronomical meetings, those of re- 
ligious believers, Catholics, Protestants, etc. 

If the hypothesis were not so bold as to seem unacceptable 
to us, I should dare to think that the concentration of the 
thoughts of psychic experimenters creates a momentary in- 
tellectual being who replies to the questions asked and then 

Reflection, reflex action? That is perhaps the true ex- 
pression. Everybody has seen his image reflected in a mir- 
ror, and nobody is astonished by it. However, analyse the 
thing. The more you look at this optical being moving there 
behind the mirror, the more remarkable the image appears 
to you. Now suppose looking-glasses had not been in- 
vented. If we had not knowledge of those immense mir- 

BO. The rotation of a table, its tipping, its levitation, the displacement 
of a piece of furniture, the inflation of a curtain, noises heard all 
are caused by a force emanating from this protagonist of the com- 
pany, or from their collective powers. We cannot really suppose that 
there is always a spirit present ready to respond to our fancies. And 
the hypothesis is so much the less necessary since the pretended spirits 
do not impart any new facts to us. For the greater part of the time, 
it is undoubtedly our own psychic force' that is acting. The chief per- 
sonage and principal actor in these experiments would be more ac- 
curately called a dynamogen, since he (or she) creates force. It seems 
to me that this would be the best term to apply in this case. It ex- 
presses that which is proved by all the observations. 

I have known mediums very proud of their title, and sometimes found 
them a bit jealous of their fellows. They were convinced that they had 
been chosen by Saint Augustine, Saint Paul, and even Jesus Christ. 
They believed in the grace of the Most High and claimed (not without 
reason too) that, coming from other hands, these signatures were to 
be suspected. There is no sense in these rivalries. 


rors which reflect whole apartments and the visitors in them, 
if we had never seen anything of the kind, and if someone 
should tell us that images and reflections of living persons 
could thus manifest themselves and thus move, we should not 
comprehend, and should not believe it 

Yes, the ephemeral personification created in Spiritual- 
istic seances sometimes recalls the image that we see in a 
mirror, which has nothing real in itself, but which yet ex- 
ists and reproduces the original. The image fixed by the pho- 
tograph is of the same kind, only durable. The p. -initial 
image formed at the focus of the mirror of a telescope, in- 
visible in itself, but which we can receive on a level mir- 
ror and study, at the same time enlarging it by the micro- 
scope of the eye-piece, perhaps approach. - nearer to that 
which seems to be produced by the concentration of the psy- 
chical energy of a group of persons. We create an imaginary 
being, we speak to it, and in its replies it almost always re- 
flects the mentality of the experimenters. And just as with 
the aid of mirrors we can concentrate light, heat, ether-waves, 
electric waves, in a focus, so, in the same way, it seems some- 
times as if the sitters added their psychic forces to those of 
the medium, of the dynamogen, condensing the waves, and 
helping to produce a sort of fugitive being more or less ma- 

The sub-conscious nature, the brain of the medium, or his 
astral body, the fluidic mind, the unknown powers latent in 
sensitive organisms, might we not consider these as the mirror 
which we have just imagined ? And might this mirror also 
not receive and reproduce impressions, or influence, from a 
soul at a distance! 

But we must not generalize partial conclusions which we 
have already had much trouble in defining. 

I do not say that spirits do not exist: on the contrary, I 
have reasons for admitting their existence. Even certain 


sensations expressed by the animals, by dogs, by cats, by 
horses, plead in favor of the unexpected and impressive 
presence of invisible beings or agents. But, as a faithful 
servant of the experimental method, I think that we ought to 
exhaust all the simple, natural hypotheses, already known, 
before having recourse to others. 

Unfortunately, a large number of Spiritualists prefer not 
to go to the bottom of things, or analyse anything, but to be 
the dupes of nervous impressions. They resemble certain 
worthy women who tell their beads while believing that they 
have before them Saint Agnes or Saint Filomena. There 
is no harm in that, says some one. But it is an illusion. 
Let us not be its dupes. 

If the elementals, the elemeniaires, the spirits of the air, 
the gnomes, the spectres of which Goethe speaks (following 
Paracelsus in this), exist, they are natural and not super- 
natural. They are in nature, for nature includes all things. 
The supernatural does not exist. It is then the duty of sci- 
ence to study this question as it studies all others. 

As I have already remarked, there are in these different 
phenomena several causes in action. Among these causes the 
ones that supposes the action to proceed from disembodied 
spirits, the souls of the dead, is a plausible hypothesis which 
ought not to be rejected without examination. It seems 
sometimes to be the most logical ; but there are weighty ob- 
jections to it, and it is of the highest importance to be able 
to demonstrate it with certainty. Its partisans ought to be 
the first to approve the seventy of the scientific methods 
which we apply in our studies of the phenomena, for Spirit- 
ualism will receive thereby so much the more solid a found- 
ation and will have so much the more value. The illusions 
and the artless faith of simple souls cannot give it any more 
solid and substantial basis. The religion of the future will 
be the religion of science. There is only one kind of truth. 


Sometimes authors are made to say that which they have 
never said. For my part, I have had frequent proof of tin*, 
notably in the case of Spiritualism. I should not be sur- 
prised if certain interpretations of the pages which precede 
should come to light, shaped into the opinion that I do not be- 
lieve in the existence of spirits. Yet it will be impossible to 
find any affirmation of this kind in this work, or in any other 
published by me. What I say is that the physical phenomena 
studied in these pages do not prove the existence of spi . 
and may probably be explained without them, that is, by 
unknown forces emanating from the experimenters, and es- 
pecially from mediums. But these phenomena indicate, at 
the same time, the existence of a psychical atmosphere or 

What is this environment ? It is indeed very difficult to 
get a true idea of it, since we are not able to apprehend it by 
any of our senses. It is also very difficult not to admit it in 
view of the multitude of psychical phenomena. If we admit 
the survival of individual souls, what becomes of these souls ? 
Where are they? It may be replied that the conditions of 
pace and of time in which our material senses exist do not 
represent the real nature of space and time, that our esti- 
mates and our measures are essentially relative, that the soul, 
the spirit, the thinking entity, does not occupy space. Still, 
we may consider also that pure spirit does not exist, that 
it is attached to a substance occupying a certain point. We 
may also consider that all souls are not equal ; that there is 
a superior and inferior class ; that certain human beings are 
scarcely conscious of their existence ; that superior souls, be- 
ing self-conscious, as well after death as during life, pre- 
serve their entire individuality, have the power of continuing 
their evolution, of voyaging from world to world and adding 
to their moral and intellectual growth by successive rein- 
carnations. But the others, the unconscious souls, are they 


more advanced the day after death than the day before? 
Why should death bestow upon them any perfection ? Why 
should it make a genius out of an imbecile ? How could it 
make a good man out of a bad one? Why should it turn 
an ignoramus into a wise man ? How could it make a shin- 
ing light out of an intellectual nobody ? 

These unconscious souls, that is to say, the multitude, 
do they not disappear at death into the surrounding ether, 
and do they not constitute a kind of psychic atmosphere, in 
which a subtle analysis can discover spiritual as well as ma- 
terial elements ? If the psychic force performs an action 
in the existing order of things, it is as worthy of consideration 
as the different forms of energy in operation in the ether. 

Without, then, admitting the existence of spirits to be dem- 
onstrated by the phenomena, we feel that these do not all 
belong to a simply material order, physiological, organic, 
cerebral, but that there is something else involved, some- 
thing else inexplicable in the actual state of our knowledge. 

But a something else of the psychical order. Perhaps we 
shall be able to go a little farther, some day, in our inde- 
pendent impartial researches, guided by the experimental 
scientific method, denying nothing in advance, but admitting 
whatever is proved by sufficient observation. 

To sum up : In the actual state of our knowledge it is im- 
possible to give a complete, total, absolute, -final explanation 
of the observed phenomena. The Spiritualistic hypothesis 
ought not to be dismissed. Still, we may admit the survival 
of the soul without necessarily admitting a physical commu- 
nication between the dead and the living. But then all the 
observed facts leading up to the affirmation of this communi- 
cation are worthy of the most serious attention of the philoso- 

One of the chief difficulties in the way of these communi- 

cations seems to be the condition itself of the soul freed 
from bodily senses. It would have other ways of perceiving. 
It would not see, hear, touch. How then can it enter into re- 
lation with our senses ? 

There is a whole problem in that which is not ta be neg- 
lected in the study of any psychical manifestations whatever. 
We take our ideas to be realities. This is a mistake. For 
example, to our senses the air is not a solid body; we pass 
through it without effort, while we cannot pass through an 
iron door. The converse is true of electricity: it passes 
through iron, and finds the air to be a solid impassible body. 
To the electrician, a wire is a canal leading electricity across 
the solid rock of the air. Glass is opaque to electricity and 
transparent to magnetism. The flesh is transparent to the 
X-rays, while glass is opaque, etc. 

We feel the need of explaining everything, and we are 
driven to admit only the phenomena of which we have had an 
explanation; but that does not prove that our explanations 
are valid. Thus for example, if some one had affirmed the 
possibility of instantaneous communication between Paris 
and London, before the invention of the telegraph, people 
would have regarded the assertion as Utopian. Later it would 
not have been admitted, except on condition of the existence 
of a wire between the two stations, and any communication 
without the medium of an electric wire would have been 
declared impossible. Now that we have wireless telegraphy 
we can apply this discovery to the explanation of the phenom- 
ena of telepathy. But it is not yet proved that this explana- 
tion is the true one. 

Why do we wish to explain these phenomena at all hazards ? 
Because we naively imagine that we are able to do so in the 
present state of our knowledge. 

The physiologists who claim to see daylight in this mat- 
ter are like Ptolemy persisting in accounting for the move- 


ments of the heavenly bodies by holding to the idea of the 
immobility of the earth ; or Galileo explaining the attraction 
of amber by the rarefaction of the surrounding air; or La- 
voisier seeking (with the common people) the origin of 
aerolites in thunder storms or denying their existence; or 
Galvani, who saw in his frogs a special organic electricity. 
I put my physiologists in good company, surely, and they 
have nothing of which to complain. But who does not feel 
that this natural propensity to explain everything is not jus- 
tified, that science progresses from age to age, that what is not 
known to-day will be known later, and that we ought some- 
times to know how to wait ? 

The phenomena of which we are speaking are manifesta- 
tions of the universal dynamism, with which our five senses 
put us very imperfectly in relation. We live in the midst 
of an unexplored world, in which the psychical forces play a 
role still very insufficiently investigated. 

These forces are of a class superior to the forces usually 
analyzed in mechanics, in physics, in chemistry : they are of 
the psychical order, have in them something vital and a 
kind of mentality. They confirm what we know from other 
sources, that the purely mechanical explanation of nature 
is insufficient and that there is in the universe something else 
than so-called matter. It is not matter that rules the world : 
it is a dynamic and psychic element. 

What light will the study of these still unexplained forces 
shed upon the origin of the soul and upon the conditions of its 
survival ? That is something that the future has to teach us. 

The truth that the soul is a spiritual entity distinct from 
the body is proved by other arguments. These arguments are 
not made for the purpose of injuring this doctrine ; but while 
confirming it and while putting in clear light the applica- 
tion of psychic forces, they still do not solve the great prob- 
lem by the material proofs that we should like to hava 


However, if the study of these phenomena has not yet 
yielded all that is claimed for it, nor all that it will in the 
future yield, we still cannot help recognizing that it has con- 
siderably enlarged the sphere of psychology, and that the 
knowledge of the nature of the soul and of its faculties has 
been once for all expanded under grander and deeper skies 
and wider horizons. 

There is in nature, especially in the domain of life, in the 
manifestation of instinct in vegetables and animals, in the 
general soul of things, in humanity, in the cosmic universe, 
a psychic clement which appears more and more in modern 
studies, especially iu researches in telepathy, and in the ob- 
servation of the unexplained phenomena which we have been 
studying in this book. This element, this principle, is still 
unknown to contemporary science. But, as in BO many other 
cases, it was divined by the ancients. 

Besides the four elements fire, water, air and earth, the 
ancients admitted a fifth, belonging to the material order, 
which they named animus, the soul of the world, the animat- 
ing principle, ether. " Aristotle " (writes Cicero, Tuscul. 
Quafst. I. 22), '* after having mentioned the four kinds of 
material elements, believes that we ought to admit a iifth 
kind from which the soul proceeds; for, since the soul and 
the intellectual faculties cannot reside in any of the 
elements, we must admit a fifth kind, which had not yet re- 
ceived a name and which he styles entelechy; that is to say, 
eternal and continued movement" The four material ele- 
ments of the ancients have been dissected by modern analysis. 
The fifth is perhaps more fundamental. 

Citing the philosopher Zeno, the same orator adds that this* 
wise man did not admit this fifth principle, which might be 
compared to fire. But, from all the evidence, fire and 
thought are two distinct things. 


Virgil has written in the jflneid (Book VI) these admir- 
able verses which are known to everybody : 

Principio crelum ac terras camposque liquentes 
Lucentemque globum Lunae Titaniaque astra 
Spiritus intus alit, totamque infusa per artus 
MENS AGITAT MOLEM, et magno se corpore miscet. 

Martianus Capella, like all the authors of the first cen- 
turies of Christianity, mentions this directive force, also 
calling it the fifth element, and furthermore describes it un- 
der the name " ether." 

A Roman emperor, well known to the Parisians, since it 
was in their city (in the palace built by his grandfather near 
the present Thermes, or old Roman baths) that he was pro- 
claimed emperor in the year 360 (I mean Julian, called the 
Apostate), celebrates this fifth principle in his discourse in 
honor of the " The Sun, the Monarch," * styling it sometimes 
the solar principle, sometimes the soul of the world, or in- 
tellectual principle, sometimes ether, or the soul of the phys- 
ical world. 

This psychical element is not confounded by the philoso- 
phers with God and Providence. In their eyes, it is some- 
thing which forms part of nature. 

One more word before closing. Human nature is endowed 
with faculties as yet little explored, that the observations 
made with mediums, or dynamogens, bring to light 
such as human magnetism, hypnotism, telepathy, clair- 
voyance, and premonition. These unknown psychic forces 
are worthy of being embraced within the scope of scientific 
analysis. At present they have been almost as little studied 
as in the time of Ptolemy, and have not yet found their Kep- 

* See the Complete Works of the Emperor Julian, Paris, 1821. Vol. 
I. p. 375. 


Icr, and their Newton, yet fairly obtrude themselves upon 
our notice, and cry out to be examined. 

Many another unknown force will be revealed. The earth 
and the planets were circling about the sun in their harmo- 
nious orbits while astronomical theories saw in them only a 
complicated whirl of seventy-nine crystalline shells. Mag- 
netism was encircling the earth with its currents long before 
the invention of the mariner's compass which reveals them 
to us. The waves of wireless telegraphy existed long before 
they were arrested in their flight. The sea was moaning 
along its shore* ages before the ear of any being had come 
to hear it The stars were darting their rays through the 
ether before any human eye had been raised to them. 

The observations set forth in this work prove that the con- 
scions will, or desire, on the one hand, and the subliminal 
consciousness on the other hand, exert an influence, or per- 
form work, beyond the limits of our body. The nature of 
the human soul is still a deep mystery to science and to philos- 

It seems rather remarkable that the conclusions drawn 
from my labors here are the same as those of my work The 
Unknown, which were founded upon the examination of the 
phenomena of telepathy, apparitions of the dying, communi- 
cations at a distance, premonitory dreams, etc. Indeed, the 
following deductions were drawn at the close of that volume : 

1. The soul exists as a real entity independent of the body. 

2. It is endowed with faculties still unknown to science. 
8. It is able to act at a distance f without the intervention 

of the senses. 

The conclusions of the present work concord with those of 
the former, and yet the subjects studied in this are entirely 
different from the subject-matter of that. 

I may sum up the whole matter with the single statement 
that there exists in nature, in myriad activity, a psychic ele- 


ment the essential nature of which is still hidden from us. 
I shall be happy for my part, if I have helped to establish 
by these two works the above important principle, exclu- 
sively based upon the scientific verification of certain phe- 
nomena studied by the experimental method. 


Academy of Sciences, its scepticism xvi, 19, investigates Angelica Cottin, 
224 et seq. 

Acoustic Mediumistic Phenomena, Cases of, 71, 73, 89, 96, 112, 121, 
144, 163, 167, 183, 274, 292, 299, 369, 373, 374, 378, 380. 

Aksakof, Alexander, 63, 151, 178; cited, 55, 66, 188, 435; his ac- 
count of alleged spirit communication regarding satellites of 
Uranus, 50-52. 

Albert the Great, xxi. 

Alcofribaz Nazier, anagram signature of Rabelais, q.v. 

Alterations in weight of bodies in mediumistic phenomena (including 
variations in scales without contact), 88, 153, 173, 199, 354, 413, 

Animism vs. Spiritism, 187 et seq. 

Antoniadi, M., report on E. Paladino, 109-111. 

Apparitions, 419. See also, Materializations. 

Apports (objects brought in from outside the seance room), 99, 112, 
186, 187, 292, 373, 378, 380. 

Arago, 178; investigates Angelica Cottin, 223; alleged spirit com- 
munication from, 389. 

Aristotle, quoted, 450. 

Armelin G., report on E. Paladino, 103-109. 

Ascensi M., 143. 

Astral body, 166. 

Astronomical discoveries, xvi. 

Automatic writing and drawing, theories of, 26-30, 58 et seq.; methods 
of, 28; by Victorien Sardou, 25, 46; by Camille Flammarion, 26, 
47-49; reflect the thoughts of the experimenter, 49 ei seq.; by 
children, 274; other cases, 384-387. 

Azam, Dr., 141; Felida's case, 59. 

Babinet, M., 266; report on Angelica Cottin, 224-227; de Gasparin't 

criticisms of, 260-265. 
Bade", Louis ("Louis Elbe"'), 368. 

Baschet, R6n6, 34, 98, 101, 103, 128; arms partial materialization, 131. 
Basilewska, M. and Mme., 98, 101. 
Bianchi, M., 147. 



Bluet, Alfred, 188. 

Biaschofsheim, Mme., 101. 

Blech family, hold Bitting* with E. Paladino, 03-84, 173. 

Bloch, Andre, 84, 93, 101. 

Bob, Jules, 84, 103, 128, 203. 

Boiaaeaux, Mme., 173. 

Boissier, Edmond, 27* 

Bourrer, M., 141. 

Boutigny, M., 114. 

Bi4dif, C., medium, 196. 

Briaaon, Adolphe, 95, 98, 101, 103, 114, 128, 200, 203; report on E. 


Briaaon, Mine. A.. 93. 95, 101, 103, 114. 
Buffern. IV f. 151. 
Buguet, medium, 196. 
Burot. 141. 

Cactoni, M. and Mm*., 368. 

CMtcx-D+grange, M., 437 ; reporta of mediumlatic phenomena, 381-393. 

Charcot, Dr., 4. 

Chardon, Dr. Beaumont, noiea on Angelica CotUn, 223. 

Cherigny, Counteaa de, 101. 

Chevreul, M., 266. 

Chiaia, Prof. E., fir*t obiaina impreaaiona in clay through Paladino, 78; 
challenge Lomhroao to investigate Paladino, 130. 

Cicero, quoted. 450. 

Claret ie. Jules. 45, 98; report on E. Paladino, 98-101. 

Coleman, Benjamin. 334. 

Cook, Florence, medium (afterwards Mra. Elgie Corner), remarkable 
caae of materialization, 334; investigated by Crookea, 335-347. 

Cot tin, Angelica, the Electric Girl, 219; Dr. Tanchou'a report of, 220- 
222; note* of M. Hebert, 222; Dr. Beaumont Chardon, 223; Acad- 
emy of Roiencea investigates, 224-227. 

Couea. Dr. and Mra. Elliott ; report on mediumiatic phenomena, 401-405. 

Crookea, Sir William, 05, 121, 196, 297, 305, 358; hia experiment.! in 
psychical research, 300-347; hia mechanical contrivances for test- 
ing auch phenomena, 308, 318, 319, 322, 323; hia views in 1898, 
347-351 ; his theory regarding such phenomena, 408. 

Crystal vision, 292. 

Cumberlandism, 171. 

Curie, Pierre, 300. 

Daguerre, an anecdote of, 11. 

INDEX 457 

Dariex, Dr., 63, 173, 218, 368; cited, 3, 210; his opinion of fraud in 

mediums, 203-205. 
D'Arsouval, Prof., 360. 

Darkness as a factor in psychical phenomena, 10-13, 68, 89. 
Davenport Brothers, the, xi, xiii, xiv, xxi. 
Delanee, G., 84, 98, 101, 375. 
Delfour, Abbe, cited, 398. 

Delgaiz, Raphael, Husband of Eusapia Paladino, 67. 
Desbeaux, Emille, 173. 
Dialectical Society of London, its organization, 289; its experiments in 

psychical research, 291-302; Huxley declines to join, 290; Flam- 

marion's letter to, 302-304. 
Divination of Numbers, 240, 249 et seq. 
Double Personality, an hypothesis for spiritistic communication, 58 et 

seq.; Dr. Pierre Janet's studies in, 60. 
Drayson, Gen. A. W., on solution of scientific problems by Spirits, 50 

et seq.; errors of, 53, 55. 
Duclaux, E., 438. 
Du Prel, Dr. Charles, 151. 
Dusart, Dr., 289. 
Dynamic theory of matter, 427. 

Eglington, medium, 196. 
Ephrussi, M., 101. 
Ermacora, Dr., 151. 

Faith not a necessity in psychic phenomena, 279. 

Faraday, 188, 259, 262, 266. 

Felida, case of double personality, 59. 

Finzi, M., 151. 

Flammarion, Camille, some scientific researches of, vi; early writings 
on Unknown Natural Forces, xi; experiments with Eusapia Pala- 
dino, 5-23, 63-134; acquaintance with Allan Kardec, 24 et seq.; 
autohatic writing by, 26; delivers funeral oration of Kardec, 30; 
experiments with Mme. Huet, 36 et seq.; letter to London Dia- 
lectical Society, 302-304; his "General Inquiry" concerning unex- 
plained phenomena, 376; some specimen cases, 377-405. 

Fluidic action, theories of, 166, 179, 253, 258, 282, 422, 427. 

Fluidic projection of limbs, etc. Bee Materializations. 

Fontenay, Guillaume de, 3, 21, 84, 95, 368; participates in Paladino 
sittings, 69-83, 123; his dynamic theory of matter, 427-431. 

Foucault, M., 264. 

Fourth dimension, 420. 

Fourton, Mme., 93, 95, 98, 101, 103, 114, 128, 202. 


Fox sisters, case of the, 34. 

Fox, Miss, automatic communication bj, 437. 

Fraud in mediums, 194, et eq. 

Krauenhofer, cited. 10. 

Fremy, M., cited, xiz. 

Frcanel, 100. 

Fulton's invention of steamboat, xrl 

Gagneur, Mme., 08, 101. 

Galileo, alleged spiritistic communication from, 26, 47-40; his erroneous 

theory for f Fictional attraction, 188, 180. 
(Jalvani's experiments la electricity, xri. 
Gasparin, Count Agenor da, 305; experiments with moving tables, 220- 

2*3; Us hypotheses, 253-268, 408; his rejoinder to Babinet's nega- 

tions, 268-265; Prof. Thury's comments on, 268, 273, 276, 270, 

282 t M?. 

Celey, Dr., his hypothesis of subliminal consciousness, 434. 
Geroaa, Prof., 151. 
GigU, M., 143. 
Girardin. Mme. de, 61. 
Gramont, Count de, 173. 

Graaaet, Dr., his opinion on pyschical phenomena, 400. 
Grove, quoted, ziz. 
Guenxmnan, A., 173. 
Golly, Dr., 334. 

Hallucination, collective, doea not satisfactorily account for phenomena, 

130, 170. 

Harrison, William. 334. 
Hartman, Dr. von, 435. 
Hebert, M., note on Angelica Cottin, 322. 
Henchel, William, 50. 
Heneael, Sir John, citea, 50. 
Hodgson, Dr. Richard, 305. 
Home, Daniel Dunglas, 105, 437; experiments with an accordion, 121; 

Crooke's investigation of, 307-322; 324-334; declares Miss Cook 

an impostor, 343. 

Huet, Mme., mediumistie experiments with, 36 et ictj. 
Hugo, Leopoldine, alleged spirit communication of, 212, et teq. 
Hugo, Victor, 61, 212, 443. 
Hnaaon, M., 263. 

Huxley, T. H.. his letter declining to join, in psychical research, 290. 
Hyslop, Prof. Jamea H., 305; his opinion on phenomena, 400. 

INDEX 459 

Impressions in plastic substances, 420; photographs of, 76, 138; cases of, 

22, 74-78, 158, 163, 184. 

Institute, its disregard of papers on table-movements, 263. 
Invisible hands, action of, 418. See also, Acoustic phenomena, and 

Materializations (tactile). 
Intelligence manifested in mediumistic phenomena, 421. 

James, Prof. William, 305. 

Janet, Dr. Pierre, 60, 188. 

Joncieres, Victorin, 437, reports mediumistic phenomena, 378-381. 

Joubert, M., 37, 42. 

Jouffroy's invention of the steamboat, xvi. 

Julian the Apostate, cited, 451. 

Jupiter, Sardou's drawings of landscapes in, 25, 45. 

Kardec, Allan, his society for spiritualistic study, 24; death of, 30; his 

funeral oration by Flammarion, 30-32. 
Kepler, 55. 
King, John, alleged spirit control of E. Paladino, 71, 78, 141, 169; a 

psychic double of Paladino, 166. 
King, Katie, a materialized spirit, 141 ; appears to Florence Cook and 

others, 334; investigated by Crookea and other scientist, 335-346; 

Home's opinion of her, 343. 

Labadye, Countess de, 103. 

Lacroix, medium, 196. 

Laplace, 51. 

Lateau, Louise, stigmata of, 20. 

Laurent, M., 101. 

Lebel, M., 218. 

Le Bocain, M., 114; report on E. Paladino, 116-118. 

Le Bou, Dr. Gustave, report on E. Paladino, 101-103. 

Lemerle, M., 368. 

LeVerrier, 213. 

Leymarie, Paul, 218. 

Levitations, 5-8, 33, 79, 80, 118, 414-416; photographs of, 6, 83, 156, 
368; denied by one sitter, 132; the flour test of 1. without contact, 
247, 248; cases of, 6, 17, 70, 73, 74, 83, 88, 91, 93, 94, 96, 99, 104, 
105 5 111, 113, 114, 144-147, 154-156, 160, 164, 167, 174, 180, 183-87, 
204, 229, 232, 236, 238, 239, 240-248, 292, 354, 357, 364, 368-370, 
373, 379, 380, 403. 

Levy, Arthur, 200; report on E. Paladino, 86-92. 

L6vy, Mme. A., 200. 

Levy, J. H., 289. 


Lewes, George Henry, 290. 

Lifting of weight*, etc., 413. tie* ofeo, Levitation. 

Lamonceffl, M., 147. 

Lodge, Sir Oliver, 63, 65, 305; hii opinion of Paladino's phenomena, 107. 

LomaUch, J., 372. 

Lombroeo, Ceaare, 63, 151, 178, 188; Prof. Cbiaia invites examination 
of Paladino, 136; investigates Paladino, 143-150; his theories re- 
garding the phenomena, 150, 409. 

Louis XIV, a fable of, 43. 

Lubbock, Sir John, 280. 

Luminous mediumistic phenomena, cases of, 74, 97, 105, 108, 125, 148, 
186, 198, 371. 

Luxmore, Mr.. 334, 33ft. 

Luys, Dr., 4. 

Mairet, if., 98. 

Mangin, Marcel, 162, 173, 218; his opinion oa psychical phenomena, 410. 
Marcianus Capella, cited, 451. 
Marks produced at a distance, 167. 
Man, discovery of satellites of, 66. 

Martelet, Adele, relatea an incident of Alfred de Musset, SM. 
Materialitations. theory of fluidic projection of limbs, etc., 121 et ttq., 
166, 198, 206. Caaes of: 

(a) TACTILE: of hands or arms, 71, 72, 89, 97, 98, 101, 106- 
108, 111, 113, 116-118, 124, 146, 148, 160, 167, 174, 181, 186, 292, 
371, 374; of heads, 73, 89. 115, 161, 177, 187, 371. 

(b) VISIBLE: of hands and arms, 10, 73, 116, 159, 175, 185, 
292; of heada and busts, 21, 72. 115, 128, 177, 18ft, 366; of com- 
plete figure, " Katie King." 334-346. 

Mathieu, Georges, 93, 101, 200; report on E. Palsdino, 111-114. 
P. F.. 37. 

Matter passing through matter, see Solid. 

Maxwell, Dr. Joseph, 63, 172, 173. Extract* from his investigations, 
360-368; his opinions, 410. 

Mediums, cheating of professional, 3, 207; their conscious and uncon- 
scious deception, 4; use of the word, 5; their will and health ss 
factors, 14; pecuniary temptations of, 157. fee alto, Bredif, Flor- 
ence. Cook, Angelica Cottin, Davenport brothers, Eglington, Fox sis- 
ters, Daniel D. Home, Mme. Hnet, Allan Kardee, A. Politi, E. 
Paladino, Anna Rotbe, Sambor, Blade, Mrs. Williams, Mme. X. 

Mediumistic Phenomena, a chapter in physics, 2; effects of antipathy 
of by slanders, 15; genuineness of, 21, 184; reflections upon those 
of Paladino, 118 et tfq.; experiments with an accordion, 121 et teq.; 
confirmatory of magnetism rather than hypnotism, 166; always of 

INDEX 461 

psycho-physical nature, 166j hypothesis of fluidic double (astral 
body), 166, 179; fraud in, 194 et seq.; agency is in the person, not 
in the object, 254; mechanical tests of, by Prof. Thury, 269 et seq.; 
by Sir William Crookes, 306 et seq.; unconscious muscular action 
considered, 280; no indications of electricity in, 281; experiments 
of London Dialectical Society, 291-303; Sir William Crookes' ex- 
periments, 306-347; his opinions of, 347-351; investigations of 
Alfred Russel Wallace, 353-359; of Dr. J. Maxwell, 359-368; of 
other scientists, 368-375; popular ignorance of, 406 et seq.; re- 
capitulation of scientist's theories regarding, 408; re- 
capitulation of phenomena with Flammarion's comments, 411-423 
et seq.; subliminal consciousness as a factor in, 433 et seq. Dr. 
von Hartmann's hypothesis, 435; Aksakof's reply, 435; of mixed 
character, 438. See also, Acoustic phenomena, Alteration in 
weight, Apparitions, Apports, Automatic writing, Fluidic Ac- 
tion, Impressions, Invisible hands, Levitations, Luminous phe- 
nomena, Materializations, Movement of objects, Ordeals, Predictions, 
Raps, Solid passing through solid, Spirit communications, Spirit- 
ualism, Thermal radiations, Typtology, Touchings, Writing pro- 
duced at a distance. 

Mery, Gaston, 84, 95, 375. 

Miller, American medium, 375. 

Milesi, Prof., 368. 

Mind, action of, upon matter, 283 et seq., 365. 

Moliere, xiv., quoted, 264, 265. 

Montaigne, 1. 

Morgan, Prof., 297-359; accepts Spiritistic theory, 409. 

Morselli, Prof. Enrico, 188; investigates E. Paladino, 177-192. 

Mouchez, Admiral, 197, 213. 

Mouzay, Countess de, 211. 

Movements of natural objects, in mediumistic phenomena, 411-416; cases 
of, 9, 17, 70-74, 88, 90, 91, 93, 95-99, 105, 106, 108, 109, 111-114, 
125, 126, 144, 147, 148, 156, 157, 163, 165, 167, 175, 176, 181-183, 
185, 187, 234, 237, 271, 274, 275, 293, 295, 297, 299-301, 353, 354, 
358, b59, 369, 370, 371, 373, 378, 382, 383, 398, 399, 403. 

Musset, Alfred de, 398. 

Myers, F. W. H., 63, 162, 305, 350, on Subliminal Consciousness, 433, 


Newton, cited, 19. 
Nus, Eug&ne, 61, 443. 

Ochorowicz, Dr. Julien, 63, 162, 188; his studies of Eusapia Paladino, 
76-78; his conclusions, 166, 409; condemns the rejection of Paladino 


by English scientists, 168; his explanation of her substitution of 

hands, 170. 
Ordeals, 292. 
Ostwald, Dr., arranges seance with E. Paladino, 15. 

Paladino, Eusapia (Mme. Raphael Delgair), 2, 3; her exhaustion after 
phenomena, 7; her fraud (conscious and unconscious), 10; influence 
of her health on experiments, 15; darkness demanded for best re- 
sult*, 10, 68, 89; her personality and history, 67, 86, 87, 140; Flatn- 
marion's estimate of the comparative authenticity of her phenom- 
ena, 79; unknown natural forces evidenced, 80, 152; investigated 
by Flammarion, 6-23, 63-134; by Lombroso, 143-150; by Knri> 
Mnrwlli. and Francois porro, 177-192; by other scientists, at Milan, 
151 et *eq.; at other places, 162 et oq.; M. Antoniadi considers her 
phenomena fraudulent, 109-111 ; unsuccessful attempt to photograph 

fluidic hand, 123; M. L denies levitations, 132; Professor Chiaia 

challenges Lombroao to investigate, 136; photographs of facial im- 
prints, 76, 136; her spiritualistic education, 141; her symptoms dur- 
ing the production of phenomena, 142; her sensation*, 143; Ochoro- 
wicx's apparatus to control feet, 164; results of sympathetic trance 
of a sitter, 165; detected in fraud at Cambridge, 168; an iix-Mmi 
at Ochorowicx's home, 168 el eq.; her deceptions, their reasons and 
their relevance to phenomena, 194-211; Dr. Dariex's opinion of 
them, 206; her sensitiveness to suggestion, 207. Reports on In r 
phenomena by Dr. Julien Ochorowicc, 76-78, 166; by I'l-f. 
Chiaia, 78, 136-140; by Arthur Levy, 86-92; Adolph Brisson, 
93, 94; Victorien Sardou, 95-98; Jules Clarctie., 98-101; Gustave 
Le Bon, 101-103; O. Armelin, 103-109; M. Antoniadi, 109-111; M. 
Mathieu, 111-114; M. Palotti, 114-116; M. Le Bocain, 116-118; 
A. de Rochas, 140-143, 174-176; M. Ciolfl's account of Lombroso'a 
seances, 145-150; the Milan scientists, 151-161; M. de Siemradski, 
163, 164; Sir Oliver Lodge, 167; Sully- Prudhomme, 176; Francois 
Porro's reports of seances with Morselli, 177-192. 
Recorded eases of her phenomena, 

(a) Raps (including typtological communications), 8, 13, 17, 70, 75, 

80, 105, 114, 144, 145, 147, 175, 203. 

(b) Movements of natural objects (Me alto (d) apports), 9, 17, 70- 
74, 88, 90, 91, 93, 95-99, 105, 106, 108, 109, 111-114, 125, 126, 
144, 147, 148, 156, 157, 163, 167, 175, 176, 181-183, 185, 187- 

203, 209, 210. 

(c) Levitations, 6, 16, 70, 73, 74, 83, 88, 91, 93, 94, 96, 99, 104, 105, 

111, 113, 114, 144-147, 154-156, 160, 164, 167, 174, 180, 183- 
187, 204, 364. 

(d) Apports (objects brought in from outside the room), 99, 112, 186, 



(e) Alteration in weight of bodies and variation in weighing appa- 
ratus without contact, 88, 153, 173, 191. 

(f) Thermal radiations, 115, 117, 125, 186. 

(g) acoustic phenomena (sounds other than raps q.v.), 71 73 89 96 

112, 144, 163, 167, 183, 209, 210. 

(h) writing and marks produced at a distance, 167. 

(i) impressions in plastic substances, 22, 74-78, 158, 163, 184; photo- 
graphs of, 76. 

(j) luminous phenomena, 74, 97, 105, 108, 125, 148, 186, 199. 

(k) trance speaking, 71, 160. 

(1) Materializations. 

(I) Tactile, of hands and arms, 71, 72, 89, 97, 98, 101, 106- 
108, 111, 113, 116-118, 124, 146, 148, 160, 167, 174, 181, 
186; of heads, 73, 89, 115, 161, 177, 187. 

(II) visible, of hands of arms, 10, 73, 116, 159, 175, 185; 
of heads and busts, 21, 72, 115, 128, 177, 185, 366. 

(m) a solid passing through a solid substance, 107, 128. 
(n) cases apparently produced by fraud, 200. 

Palotti, M., report on E. Paladino, 114-116. 

Palotti, Mme., 114. 

Pelletier, M., 220. 

Penta, Dr., 147. 

Phaedrus, quoted, xx. 

Phalansterians, the, 61, 443. 

Phantoms, 419, see also Materializations. 

Plautus, xiv. 

Politi, Auguste, mediums, his phenomena, 368-371. 

Poggenpohl, M. de, 373, 374. 

Porro, Francois, report on E. Paladino, 177-192; his theories, 409. 

Predictions, 293, 384, 385. 

Psychical research, utility of, v, viii, 2, 30-32; the sceptic's attitude to- 
ward, vii; ignorance of critics of, xii, xv; scientists unwilling to 
recognize phenomena, 18-20; value of cumulative testimony in, 191; 
necessity of eliminating fraud in, 194; society for, 305. 

Psychological Institute invites E. Paladino to Paris, 3. 

Rabelais, 1 ; alleged spirit communications from, 38-40. 

Radioculture, vi. 

Raps (see also, Typtology), their connection with sitters, 22; hypotheses 
for, 35; Dr. J. Maxwell's Studies of, 360-364; recapitulation of, 
416-418; cases of, 8, 13, 17, 75, 105, 144, 145, 147, 175, 232, 244, 
292, 297-301, 353, 357. 

Ravachol, alleged spirit communication from, 213. 

Regnard, quoted, 101. 


Kibcro, M, 218. 

Richet, Dr. Charles, 3, 63, 65, 84, 03, 05, 151, 162, 178, 202, 305; his 

experiments in Algiers, 375; his theory, 409. 
Rochas, Count Albert de, 63, 84, 05, 162, 203, 280, 368; cited, 3, 

135, 170, 188, 108; his theories, 400. 
Rodiere, Mme., medium, 106. 
Rothe, Anna, medium, 217. 
Rothschild, Ed. de, 101. 
Koure, Lucien, cited, 308. 

Sabatier, A., 63, 173. 

Sambor, Russian medium, his phenomena, 371-374'. 

Sardou, Victorien, 178, 203, 208; early mediumistic experiences of, 25; 
letter to Jules Claretie, 45; report on E. Paladino, 05-08; partici- 
pate* in Paladino sittings, 123, 124. 

Sayn-Wittgenstein, Prince, 334. 

Schiaparelli, 4, 63, 82, 151, 178, 104; letter regarding E. Paladino, 64. 

Secondary personality, cee Double Personality. 

Serginea, M. de, 101. 

Sexton, Dr., 334. 

Sidgwick, Prof. Henry, 305. 

Siemiradski, M. de, 162; quoted, 163. 

Simmons, Mr. and Mrs. Franklin, 368. 

Sivel the aeronaut, alleged spirit communication from, 218, 

Slade, Henry, medium, 66, 420; his fraud, 106. 

Socrates, vii. 

Solid passing through * solid, cases of, 107, 128, 372; natural 
parallel, 130. 

Solovovo, Petrovo, describes Sambor's phenomena, 371-374. 

Soul, the, xx, 82, 178, 188, 430, 452. 

Spirit communications, 384-380; erroneous, 51, 62, 57; tee alto, Auto- 
matic writing, Rape, Trance-speaking. 

Spiritualism (spiritism), 104; its immateriality in psychical research, 
xx, 80; has never taught anything new, 26, 436; not proven by 
Paladino phenomena, 166; dilemma between animism and, 188, 435; 
Porro's opinion of its relation to Paladino, 100 et seq.; de Gas- 
parin's arguments against, 285; Thury's comments on, 285 et eq.; 
spiritistic hypothesis accepted by Cromwell Varley, 305, 400, by 
Wallace, 400, by Pro! Morgan, 400; spirits not necessarily souls 
of dead, 431; still a working hypothesis, 430, 447 i arguments 
against its probability, 430 et eg. 
Squanquarillo, Joseph, 368. 
Stewart, Prof. Balfour, 306, 
Stock, Georges, 50. 

INDEX 465 

Subliminal consciousness, Myers on, 433, 434; Dr. Geeley'a hypothesis, 

434 ; does not depend upon organism, 436. 
Sully-Prudhomme, 173. 
Syamour, Mme., 101. 

Table movements, 411-413. See also, Levitation and Movements of 
Natural Objects. 

Taine, quoted, 58. 

Tamburini, M., 144. 

Tanchou, Dr., report on Angelica Cottin, 219-222. 

Tapp, Mr., 345. 

Taton, M., 368. 

Telekinesis, 61. 

Thermal radiations (sensations of heat or cold in mediumistic phenom- 
ena), 115, 117, 125, 186. 

Thury, Marc, his researches into physical phenomena, 266-287; hia 
experiments, 269-276; hia theories, 276-287, 408. 

Touchings in mediumistic phenomena, 418. See also, Materializations 

Trance speaking, cases of, 71, 160, 293. 

Typtology (intelligible communications by raps), code for, 8; results 
generally tally, knowledge of the experimenters, 14, 37, 57; appar- 
ently an extension of hand and brain, 33; received through Mme. 
Huet, 37 et seq.; answers to unknown questions evidently guess- 
work, 240; specimens of, 38-43, 70, 80, 114, 147, 203, 212, 237, 
292, 293, 297-301, 355, 356, 380, 403, 437. See also, Raps. 

Unknown natural forces, v, xvii, 1-23, 2, 18; extracts from Flam- 
marion's monograph on, xi-xxi; evinced in E. Paladino's phenom- 
ena, 80, 192; hypotheses regarding, 81, 406 et seq.; danger of too 
great scepticism against recognition of, 188 et seq.; not the ex- 
clusive property of mediums, 442. 

Uranus, the satellites of { spiritistic communications regarding, 50-57. 

Vacquerie, Charles, 213. 

Varennes, M. and Mile, de, 95. 

Varley, Cromwell F., 291, 297, 359; accepts spiritistic hypothesis, 305, 


Vignon, Louis, 98, 101. 
Virchow, cited, 20. 
Virgil, quoted, 451. 
Vizioli, M., 143. 
Voltaire, 1. 


Wagner, Prof., 102. 

Wallace Alfred RuMel, 65, 290, 297, 437; accept* spiritutic theory, 400. 

Watterille, Baron de, 63, 173, 218; hit investigation* of mediui, 

phenomena, 868 359. 
Weber, A.. 372. 
Wellemberg. M., 218. 

Will, the, iU influence upon phenomena, 273 rt ttq., 365. 
Williams, lira., medium, 218, il. 

M.. 218. 
Writing and marks produced at a distance, 167, 356, 371, 373, 379. 

X., Ifat^ Btdiumistic *4aac with, 211-216. 

cited. 450. 
Zollner, Prof., 66, 178, 196. 420. 

1 4 o o ;